Are You Ready to Empower Students to be Experts?


Most can agree that students are capable of providing excellent feedback and supporting peers in their learning.


However, when we start out, we don't always know how to build structures that can help make this happen successfully.


Students, like adult learners don't necessarily know who to give really good feedback and sometimes within the context of the classroom don't trust themselves or each other to do a good job. That's why we must teach them how to do it and scaffold the process until they can be experts on their own.


In my journalism classes, there was a natural system set up where the editors for various sections as well as our editor-in-chief would be providing specialized feedback around the kinds of writing or functions happening in their section. Before they became the section leader, they were reporters in that same section and also took a foundations class to know how to write for the different sections.


As journalism teachers and journalists, we know that although there are particular tenets of journalism that run through all kinds of writing and photography, there are specific nuances appropriate to the genre of the pieces being written. News articles are necessarily written differently than an editorial or a feature. Each section editor understands what is needed for their section and provides targeted feedback on written pieces.


This doesn't only have to happen in newspaper classes or yearbook class, it can happen in all classes where we develop experts in a particular skill or content and allow those groups to give feedback to students.


Would you be willing to give this a try in your classes? What would it look like? Please share

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