While we know there is value in engaging with and learning from one another, having students provide authentic feedback on a peer’s creation can often be hit or miss. By incorporating Growth Mindset-driven strategies, peer reviews can not only be incredibly productive uses of class time, but they can craft invaluable skills in the long term. In this article, you will learn how to incorporate Growth Mindset strategies to encourage more effective peer reviews.
Disparate mindsets, wide-ranging academic levels, harsh critique or delivery, and even sensitivities or underdeveloped social skills can mean misunderstandings on both sides of the peer exchange. Further, many of our students are at ages where peer opinion is vital, and these brief interchanges can be the difference in engaging in class, exhibiting enthusiasm for learning, and moving forward after encountering challenges.
In short, these critique-giving sessions can aid or potentially inhibit student progress in the realm of a growth mindset.
- Shift the understanding of peer reviews from getting marks to making progress.
Making certain that students understand that peer review is less about pointing out the myriad errors and more about working together to make progress is an important step in implementing peer reviews that have positive associations, utilize the time productively, and encourage a growth mindset.
When engaging in peer reviews, students should recognize that these meetings are about providing and receiving actionable support from another source, which is just one more natural and necessary step in the learning process.
- Allow students time to prepare for the peer review with guided questions.
To maximize the benefit of peer review, allows the students time with the content they are reviewing before they meet face to face. This accomplishes 3 essential goals.
- It reminds students that in the preparation phase, peer review is truly about improving their peer’s work.
- It sends the message that their input will be valued by the peer.
- It provides an opportunity for students to address each step of the peer review process from an informed standpoint.
- Frame the language to align with the growth mindset.
All peer-to-peer communication should reflect that struggling is a normal part of learning.
Offer students sentence stems to frame their language ahead of time in ways that normalize—or even celebrate—struggle. Struggling is a normal part of the learning process, and the language student’s use when addressing another student’s struggle should reflect that awareness.
- Provide a Growth Mindset-friendly structure for the peers to follow throughout the session.
Dr. Carol Dweck, the primary researcher behind the growth and fixed mindsets, defines growth mindset as “when students understand that their abilities can be developed” (Dweck 2014). This growth-oriented belief system then drives determination and creates a willingness to problem-solve—thereby improving learning because students grasp that they are capable of moving the needle on their skills.
Use a peer review structure that reinforces this understanding. Having specified steps for peer partners to follow when the meeting is critical to clarify expectations, target focus, and foster productivity, but it is also important to consider how what the students are doing can impact a budding growth mindset.
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