Is Peer Feedback the Most Effective Way to Teach?

  • 2017-07-06
  • Medium

A recent study by the Wall Street Journal shows that colleges in US fail to teach students critical-thinking skills. The situation is so bad that:

“At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table”

The thing is, teaching critical thinking is not easy. Just like you can’t learn to ride a bike in a seminar, you can’t learn how to think critically by just spending a few hours practising before the test. So how can we teach critical thinking you ask? Like with bike-riding, the best way to learn is to spend a lot of time practising — and the best way to practise critical thinking is through peer feedback.

Peer feedback is the act of letting students give feedback to each others work. Students hand in some kind of work — it can be an essay, a poem, a solution to a math problem, a video production or even a Kahoot! quiz. Then each student receives a few pieces of work produced by their peers and gives feedback to it. Finally each student receives the feedback given to their work.