Teachers' Tales

The power of peer feedback

by Ms. Green
on May 24, 2016


There is currently a lot of publicity around teacher workload and the amount of time teachers spend marking. Teachers feel the pressure to mark learning evidence in depth and thus get buried underneath books – but why? WHY? This is a question I often get asked in my role at school. The why is the most important thing for the students that we work with. Typically teachers feel like they need to excessively comment on work accrediting this to different external pressures but how often does the why come back to the impact that it has on the students that we work with.

One of the targets within my school this academic year is to ‘reduce unnecessary bureaucracy by 50% to enable efficiency and increase opportunities for work life balance’. This began with addressing what was taking the most of teachers’ time. Reviewing the marking & feedback policy was the starting point. Now our feedback policy promotes a variety of feedback methods, however it has a much greater emphasis on peer feedback and self-reflection than ever before. This has had a positive impact on the standard and quality of learning produced; this is something that many of the educational professionals who visit my setting comment upon.

In my role as English Leader within my setting I often seek the voice of our students. Earlier this year, whilst carrying out student interviews, I spoke to students from across the school (Y1-Y6) about how they like to receive feedback. I was not surprised by the responses that I received. 100% of students stated that they benefit most receiving feedback when it is from their peers. ‘My friends help me to make my writing better, they give me feedback that I can use.’ ‘I like it when I get critique from the people in my class because I can make my next draft even better.’ So, why do we insist on taking control and writing comment after comment on work with very little student interest or long-term effect?

I suppose this is why the students in my school enjoy using Pobble so much. When they have writing uploaded they cannot only receive feedback from peers within their class and across school but also from students all around the world.

Recently I had a very inspiring meeting with some of the Pobble team and I left feeling extremely enthused about the Global Classroom Connections Project that my school is going to take part in. Pobble is providing us with the opportunity to not only receive one off pieces of feedback from others worldwide but also to build a long-lasting relationship with others around the world through this project. Together, we will be creating successful and inspired writers of the future.

Ms. Green is Assistant Head, Leader of Standards and Year 6 teacher at Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln. 

Watch this one minute video to see peer commenting in action.

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