Writing, reviewing, and revising Peer feedback in lower secondary EFL classrooms

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of English, Stockholm University

Abstract: This thesis investigates pupils’ learning about writing from giving feedback. Research on peer assessment and L2 writing is plentiful, but little attention has been given to younger learners and to potential benefits for the peer feedback provider. My project was carried out as two intervention studies with Swedish pupils in year 8. During the intervention, the pupils wrote two drafts of various genres (the reply letter, the newspaper article, and the argumentative essay), and the teaching involved a joint formulation of criteria lists, feedback training, and peer review in groups. Learning from giving feedback was operationalised as links between the revision changes made to the first draft and the peer feedback provision.Results show that the pupils were able to produce relevant feedback on their peers’ writing. The inclusion of formative information, i.e. explanations and suggestions, varied between the groups and between the genres. In terms of learning, it was especially the macro-level of writing that benefitted from giving feedback, as the pupils paid attention to paragraphing and the content of their texts, among other things. The intervention was inspired by genre pedagogies, and the pupils in the second study who wrote texts in three different genres presented an emergent genre awareness. As regards micro-level aspects of writing, the pupils self-reported improved ability to proofread their own texts from having read and commented on peers’ writing.The pedagogical discussion of the findings highlights the roles of genre pedagogy, feedback training, criteria, and the pupils in relation to my results and to pupil involvement in assessment-as-learning activities. In conclusion, this thesis suggests that involving pupils as instructional resources for each other and for the teacher requires the advancement of pupils as agents in the classroom practice.