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ERIC Number: ED357382
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr-1
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Student-Centered, Not Teacher-Abandoned: Peer Response Groups That Work.
Sommers, Elizabeth
A college composition instructor uses peer response groups in first-year composition, basic writing, and graduate courses because it seems to be a good alternative to more teacher-centered and teacher-dominated forms of education. The instructor has found the groups to be successful, but there are problems. Four typical problems are: the group member who is developmentally far behind her peers and offers only redundant comments; recent immigrants who usually dread and evade peer response groups; a group member (usually male) who constantly interrupts; and the very talented writer who overwhelms his peers. Group members dealing with these problems are indeed on task: they are learning that: (1) their suggestions may be redundant; (2) peer interaction can be avoided; (3) a reticent member can be persuaded to participate; (4) fine writing both pleases and dismays other group members; and (5) a power struggle for the floor can be won by an exasperated woman. The responsibility teachers have to distribute power in the classroom gives them choices: impose rules for group interaction, realizing that not all students are equal in ability; make power issues explicit, the subject of classroom study and discussion; and allow peer response groups to work these situations out on an individual basis without direct intervention. Teachers using peer response groups need to contemplate the implications of whatever instructional approach they take and decide how to empower their students in peer response groups. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A