Academic journal article Techno Learn

A Model of Critical Peer Feedback to Facilitate EFL Writing in Online Context

Academic journal article Techno Learn

A Model of Critical Peer Feedback to Facilitate EFL Writing in Online Context

Article excerpt

Feedback needs to be specific, appropriate, high quality, timely, accurate, constructive, outcomefocused, encouraging, positive, understandable and focused on what is done correctly and what needs to improve (Konold & Miller, 2005). Peer feedback is referred under different names such as peer response, peer review, peer editing, and peer evaluation (Bijami, 2013). Peer feedback emphasizes the activity of peers or students involvement in learning. Peer interaction is cardinal to the improvement of students' learning, because it allows students to construct knowledge through social sharing and interaction (Lin et al. 2001).

There are arguments on the positive and negative effects of peer feedback. Mory (2003) discusses four perspectives on how feedback supports learning: 1) an incentive for increasing response rate and/ or accuracy; 2) a reinforcer that automatically connects responses to prior stimuli (focused on correct responses); 3) Feedback can be considered as information that learners can use to validate or change a previous response; 4) Feedback can be regarded as the provision of scaffold to help students construct internal schemata and analyze their learning processes. Peer feedback can generate more comments on the content, organization, and vocabulary (Paulus, 1999). In addition, peer feedback has advantages such as developing critical thinking, learner autonomy and social interaction among students (Yang, Badger & Yu, 2006). The practice of peer feedback allows students to receive more individual comments as well as giving reviewers the opportunity to practice and develop different language skills (Lundstrom & Baker, 2009). Lange (2011) believes that students are allowed to give feedback without constraints, and exploring their ideas without fear or criticism from the teacher. In details, Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) articulate that peer feedback enhanced the students' sense of self-control over their learning.

The major criticism of peer feedback is that although students express positive attitudes toward the usage of peer feedback, they tend to significantly favor feedback by the teachers (Yang, Badger & Yu, 2006; Zhang, 1995). Saito and Fujita (2004) find that a number of studies indicate that there are a number of biases associated with peer feedback including friendship, reference, purpose (development vs. grading), feedback (effects of negative feedback on future performance), and collusive (lack of differentiation) bias. Another issue is that most peer responses focus on products rather than the processes of writing, and many students in L2 contexts focus on sentence-level errors rather than the content and ideas (Storch, 2005).

The main purpose of peer feedback is to improve writing with high quality feedback. A basic research question is how to produce high quality peer feedback in writing and what is the strategy to produce high order peer feedback. One of the research gap is how to improve the quality of peer feedback and improve their ability of writing. In this study, critical thinking skills will be conducted in peer feedback to produce higher-quality peer feedback.

Writing, Critical Thinking and Peer Feedback

The writing skills develop in line with the other basic language skills such as the individual's common sense, vocabulary, orthographic knowledge and social knowledge, etc. The ability to produce texts, language awareness, vocabulary knowledge and the thinking skill are the major components of writing (Bayat, 2014). The thinking skill is particularly important among these components. Among the thinking skills, critical thinking plays a significant role in enabling the writing put forward by the writer in the text to be well-grounded.

Critical thinking aims to evaluate the clarity of opposing situations or ideas as distinct from the other kinds of thinking. Critical thinking acts as a result of a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, recognizing the problem, finding evidence for the arguments, and acquiring knowledge regarding the accuracy of evidence, turning this process into an attitude and using it comprise the content of critical thinking (Bayat, 2014). …

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