Words of Wisdom

Lisa Reid, English Dept. Chair/Senior English Teacher, St. Aloysius High School

Well, I thought I had it right.

Over the years, I have worked furiously to set up an effective peer response system for my senior English students. I failed miserably at my early attempts, but bolstered by ideas from Transitioning workshops, I persevered. In the last year I had come to consider my system refined enough that students at all levels could benefit from – and maybe even enjoy – the interaction with their peers.

So imagine my letdown a few weeks ago when I introduced all my high school classes – English IV, Honors English IV and AP Lit and Comp – to my peer resonse process. Although it went smoothly in AP, the outcome was not so good in either Honors or English IV. The six-student Honors class is simply too small for much meaningful interaction, and when the process seemed to bog down in English IV, our post mortem diagnosis revealed the main problem: the groups of four (perfect in years past) were simply too large. A few other issues also reared their ugly heads.

So I will continue to reassess and tweak, and at the Transitioning workshop, troll for some new ideas about how others adapt their peer response programs to different situations. I will not be so confident of myself in the future, but I am confident that my colleagues will have some words of wisdom for me.

peer response group at St. Aloysius High School

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