Teaching Strategies

Peer Editing

If the teacher has made explicit the key structures and language features of a certain text type and these are displayed on a wall or are given to the students as a checklist, then the students can edit each others' work against these lists. In her research into error correction in secondary school student writing, Jenni Bedford (j.bedfor@ace.ac.nz) found that peer editing was particularly helpful for ESOL students at the ideas level too.

If this is the first attempt at peer editing then considerable modeling will be required, and realistically students may only be able to peer edit one paragraph rather than the whole essay.


Collect students' first draft of the essay. Pair the students to work as editors, and assign drafts to be edited. Model the day's editing task on an OHP. Students edit the assigned work marking the draft as modeled. Students should return drafts with a verbal positive comment and one suggestion for improvement. Students may then start to rewrite their paragraph.

Peer Editing Task A - Ideas

Edit one paragraph at a time for ideas.

Peer Editing Task B - Structure

Edit one paragraph at a time for structure.

Peer Editing Task C - Language Features

Edit one paragraph at a time for specified language features and return for rewriting.

Answers for Mix and Match

Language Feature Example
Quote using a colon: One cause of premature death is poor nutrition: "Nutrition-related risks accounted for more than 85 percent of heart disease and 70 percent of strokes."
Apposition Obesity, being overweight, is a health risk.Cholesterol, a fatty deposit, clogs the arteries causing heart problems.
Compound sentence Eating less fatty food does help to reduce weight, but exercise is better.
Complex sentence Since latest figures show that over fifty percent of the population is overweight many people should be concerned for their well being.
Simple sentence (5) It is the school's responsibility.
Modal verb As fatty foods contribute to obesity they should not be sold in the school canteen.
Modal noun - adjective - adverb probability - possible - definitely
Theme and rheme The government wants to tax fast food and lower the cost of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables could have the GST removed or be subsidised.
Nominalisation Changing the canteen menu will encourage students to eat healthy food.
Linking words to signal cause and effect because - therefore - as
Linking words to signal a change of direction but - however - or
Linking words for adding information furthermore - also - as well
Question Don't you want to live longer?
Exemplification Obesity causes health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Proof Reading Task

Identify possible errors and Model reading aloud each sentence starting from the end of the essay. Demonstrate helping strategies, for example: saying "What?" when the student reads an error aloud. Students practice in pairs.