Most likely, you have had to produce some kind of writing assignment to a teacher in your high school or college career, or possibly for your job. You struggle at a computer desk for a while, in an effort to get your thoughts on paper, and have them make sense all at the same time. You finish your assignment, scan it for errors over and over again, and finally it’s complete! You go into class, so proud of what you’ve accomplished, but then comes the next and most important step in the writing process: Peer Editing. Many students fear this step, and it often turns them away from becoming a successful writer. Why, you ask? Many students do not know what it means to “peer edit” successfully, or maybe don’t even know what Peer Editing is, therefore giving incorrect or hurtful feedback to their peers.
According to the Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial, Peer Editing is defined as “working with someone your own age, to help improve, revise, and edit his or her writing.” The YouTube video, What Is Peer Editing?, explains the steps of peer editing very well. According to this video there are three steps to follow when editing someone’s writing: Compliment, Suggestion, and Correction. When editing someone’s work, you always want to start by encouraging the writer with something positive about their writing such as, “I really like what you chose as your title”, or “This was a great topic to write about.” After complimenting the author, you should come up with suggestions and ideas to make their writing even better. Remember, you are making suggestions, so you should not insist that the author use your ideas. Being pushy with suggestions will often make the writer think that their ideas are insufficient. Lastly, make corrections by looking for spelling errors, grammatical problems, and fragmented sentences. Always explain why you believe something should be corrected, so that the writer understands the problem and how it should be fixed. Peer editing should be a way to improve one’s writing abilities, so you should always use constructive criticism when editing something!