As I think about peer revisions, the only word that comes to mind is vulnerability. To subject your writing to the critique of one’s peers can be unsettling. For some reason, it just feels different. You wouldn’t think peer review produces more anxiety for me than the actual professor grading, but somehow it does. Year after year in the education system has prepared me for the critique of my professors. However, peer review has not been a staple in my educational journey, merely a few bumps here and there. I have built up a thick skin over the years when it comes to the feedback of professors. However, to me, peer revision is the most humbling. It feels like a strange case of peer pressure. What if I don’t live up to their expectations? What if they question my position in the program? What if they judge me for the quality of my writing or lack thereof? These are all questions that float in my head anytime the words “peer review” are unleashed.
Our EDLP 715 five-page paper was no different; I was filled with the same anxieties. However, to my surprise, I was given nothing but helpful feedback, constructive in so many ways. I think this experience was especially useful because my peer had little knowledge of my topic. She was able to provide an objective, unbiased perspective that I needed. She pointed out areas where I needed to elaborate further to invite the reader into the fold, giving them the knowledge they lacked. She posed questions from a perspective I had not thought of before. As I reworked my paper, I did utilize some of the feedback given. I also plan to use some of the feedback to expand the paper in the coming weeks. Some of the suggested things would take up more space on the page than just a five-page paper will allow. She is challenging me to go more in-depth on several topics, which I plan to do within the next draft.
As for offering feedback, I often feel similar anxieties. I want to provide helpful feedback that is not hypercritical and has enough depth to be useful. This balance between the two is a very fine line to walk, and I tried to be aware of this as I review others’ work. Overall, I would say this most recent experience with peer review was helpful. It truly requires vulnerability to engage in peer revision; however, the outcomes far outweigh the temporary discomfort one might experience.