Giving and Receiving Feedback

Strong academic writing is the result of collaboration. In the Writing Seminars, close collaboration is built into the course work as students practice giving and receiving feedback at every stage of their writing assignments. These exchanges benefit from using a Writing Lexicon and happen in the margins, discussion boards and response letters, and in student-led conversations with each other and their instructor, both in and outside of class. 

For each core assignment assessed using the full set of shared grading standards, students participate in either an individual conference (45 minutes) or otherwise conference in pairs (60 minutes) or triads (90 minutes). For all other core assignments, students will also participate in a conference, but the format and duration will depend on the pedagogical goals of the specific assignment (e.g., a 20-minute conference about a research proposal or a 45-minute group conference about an early exercise in developing layers of motive).

Every student will have at least one individual draft conference (45 minutes) with their instructor over the course of the semester.

Students receive written feedback from their instructor in the form of marginal notes and an overall response letter on their drafts and revisions, as well as notes on certain low-stakes assignments like research proposals or annotated bibliographies. 

The draft workshop experience is at the heart of the Writing Seminar. As part of the sequence for each core writing assignment, students exchange critical constructive feedback in a series of guided draft workshops. Every student can count on having at least one core assignment workshopped for 30-40 minutes in class during the course of the semester. Students may also work with partners or small groups to ensure an exchange of peer feedback even if their draft isn’t being workshopped in class that cycle. 

This combination of focused feedback and big-picture responses on their writing is designed to give students practice entering into an intellectual dialogue with their colleagues. It’s this kind dialogue that’s at the heart of both the First-Year Writing Seminar and the liberal arts education provided at Princeton. By immersing students in this community of writers they will give and gain honest, generous, and respectful insights about their growth as critical writers and researchers.

In the Spotlight: “Giving and Receiving Feedback, Some Guiding Principles”