Effects of Peer Feedback on the Development of L2 Writing


Peer review represents an important aspect of the learning process in a classroom setup especially in learning of second languages. Peer review feedback is normally applied in classrooms whereby students engage with one another to enhance the learning of second languages. The importance of collaboration of students and the teacher in writing second languages is the creation of feedback avenues. If done in the right manner, peer feedback can be a valuable tool to the teacher in minimizing errors among students. Students work together in groups of two, which is more engaging and motivating. Amicable engagement in the classroom is a good strategy of revising the written material for the production of the final daft. With time, writers of the second language perfect their writing skills owing to constructive criticism offered by their peers.

Peer feedback changes the entire classroom construct where the teacher issues a variety of comments regarding the students’ work (Tabatabaei & Banitalebi, 2011). Tasking students with the role of analyzing written material of other students improves overall performance in learning of the second language (Cherry, 2014). Once corrected, L2 writers take the necessary step of making the suggested adjustments in the material to produce quality work. Most writing teachers especially those in Asian countries have a difficult task of analyzing numerous written materials from students to provide appropriate feedback. The purpose of the feedback is to improve the writing skills of students. However, the teachers find it difficult to offer exhaustive feedback to the students’ work. Additionally, sometimes the students fail to regard the feedback given by the teachers; hence, their grades remain stagnant or drop. As a result of such trends, it is important to incorporate an alternative means of providing feedback (Tabatabaei, & Banitalebi, 2011).

Torres (2013), notes that it is beneficial to empower fellow students in providing assistance in L2 writing. For instance, in his research, Torres (2013) established that peer reviews allowed students to share ideas, offer beneficial feedback, and negotiate between themselves on ways of improving the writing of a second language. He also noted that it involved passing of responsibility to the students, which boosts their interest of learning; thus, making an instructor’s work easy. As such, students were more careful because they understood the difference between a draft and final draft. Student reviewers normally focus on grammar and the flow of work when reviewing a particular written draft. However, it is important to have a standard review process; hence, the teacher should provide specifications to be used by student reviewers. Li ( Li, 2013) stated that the writing of a second language requires extensive training whereby students are taught on appropriate structure, organization, and coherence. The creation of texts that make sense is the first step of learning second languages. There is a delicate balance between grammar and flow of work that makes linguistic sense

Current Literature Review

Many studies have been carried out regarding the effectiveness of peer review in L2 writing. Many learning institutions are applying the use of peer feedback in classroom setups; hence, leading to various researches being conducted on this topic. Bitchener & Ferris (2012) described peer feedback as the act of reviewing a different student’s work in language education. The practice is normally employed in first (L1) and second (L2) languages to offer an opportunity for a student to learn from one another. Peer feedback is conducted after students complete a particular assignment, and the teacher instructs students to exchange their work. Study by Tsai, & Chiu-Feng (2012), established that reading the work of a different student offers a different perspective, which helps to reveal some accidental mistakes. Additionally, peers offer suggestions and ideas on how to improve the work.

Furthermore, in his study, O’Neil (2012) highlighted on the effectiveness of the practice in classroom setups. The idea of this practice revolved around collaboration between students and teachers to help one another in the learning of a second language. The reviews offered by fellow students go through various process whereby students write drafts before the submission of a final written material. The successive reviews are essential because they ultimately help students express themselves (Cherry, 2014). Further, the research suggested that the review of a peer’s work by a fellow student is better than using models from other authors. Peer feedback provides an opportunity for students to negotiate on a matter that requires correction. Tabatabaei & Banitalebi (2011) acknowledged that the involvement of students in revisions had an impact on the way errors were treated. In the conventional ways, a teacher normally looked at a written composition as a final draft; hence, there was a likelihood students did not consider the mistakes, but focus on the grades (Tabatabaei & Banitalebi, 2011). Therefore, it is important to incorporate peer review because it helps students have the motivation of writing a second language.

Peer feedback in L2 writing has a number of advantages as illustrated by Bitchener & Ferris (Bitchner & Ferris, 2012). First, the practice offers an alternative and diverse ways of learning, which is different to the conventional methods where the teacher is the sole-giver of feedback in a classroom setup. In such a situation, students pay more attention to their peers to facilitate the learning process. The motivation of students increases; thus, the students are able to grasp various writing concepts. Secondly, sharing information with other students increases confidence. For instance, positive feedback is essential because it passes the responsibility to a fellow peer when reviewing the written work. Third, peer feedback helps in improving communication skills among students. Peer feedback mode of learning takes place in groups where students interact with one another; hence, students gain some essential life skills for future purposes (Cherry, 2014).

According to Tang (2012), peer feedback has exhibited a growth in popularity in most learning institutions. For instance, students benefit greatly from this practice because it exposes their hidden potential once the trivial mistakes are corrected by their peers. Moreover Tang (2012) established that students were more comfortable and interested when they learnt from their peers. The exchange of written drafts and appropriate critiquing helps students to avoid a repetition of common mistakes. Researchers in the field indicate that peer feedback is a common fixture in most classroom settings, which help to improve linguistic skills ().

According to Tsai & Chiu-Feng (2012) it is important for the students to produce drafts, which are then evaluated for any mistakes. The audience may be a single student of a group depending on the peer feedback setup. Given this specification, students normally strive to produce quality work, which becomes a means of motivation to improve one’s linguistic skills. During the session, students are proud to own up their written material even though it may have some mistakes. Owning up to one’s linguistic mistakes is the first step to improve learning of a second language (Tsai & Chiu-Feng, 2012). During the correction period, students usually feel comfortable to offer suggestions pertaining their work. This indicates a student’s learning process whereby a student develops unique writing ideas, which can propel one on his or her own path.

In a study to establish importance of reflection in improvement of L2 writing, Srichanyachon (2011) established that it had a significant impact in improving or rather enhancing a deep understanding during a peer feedback session. In such circumstances a student and the peer reviewer takes time to reflect on the written material; hence, appreciate the linguistic skills employed in a particular paper. Linguistic skills, especially in learning of a second language require one to develop the skills from scratch. Reflecting on the work increases one’s awareness, which is a positive step towards becoming a proficient speaker and writer of the second language (Srichanyachon, 2011).

Additionally, research by Hirschel (2011) established that peer feedback is advantageous compared to a teacher’s feedback. Teachers normally give a general feedback, which aims to give a general solution in a classroom. Contrarily, peer feedback tends to be specific in addressing a problem in the written work. For instance Hirschel (2011), established that students who had particular grammatical problems, were more likely persist when teacher issue feedback. On the other hand, majority of the subjects reduced their grammatical problems when their fellow students helped them out. As such Hirschel (2011) conclude that fellow students tend to be more direct by offering constructive criticism concerning the written work. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate teacher and peer feedback to achieve good linguistic skills.

However, Tang (2012) noted that there are a number of disadvantages associated with peer feedback. First, fellow students lack critique experience when reviewing a written assignment. For instance, the results of the study indicated that a significant number of students failed to recognize grammatical mistakes in the written material. Second, there was lack of proper constructive criticism because some students did not offer honest opinion regarding their classmates’ work. It is the role of instructors to ensure that students offer constructive criticisms during classroom sessions (Tsai & Chiu-Feng, 2012). Third, the use of peer feedback can lead to poor reader judgments. In such a case, students tend to judge their peers based on academic performance rather than the actual written work.

L2 learners have a negative perception regarding peer review on their writing. Students tend to prefer the teacher’s feedback compared to reviews given by their peers; hence, they fail to give peer reviews the seriousness it deserves (Tang, 2012). In learning of a second language, students usually view the teacher as the master of the language; thus, they disregard opinions given by fellow students. In this context, the teaching of Korean language comes from a culture that exalts the role of a teacher; hence, it would be difficult to achieve peer review methods (Tsai, & Chiu-Feng, 2012). However, the students complied with the setup to facilitate the learning process.

Additionally, there is no sufficient research carried on the use of peer feedback in L2 writing. Therefore, it becomes difficult to gauge its effectiveness in a classroom environment. For instance, extensive reviews of peer responses is important to determine their accuracy. This suggests that a student reviewer may propose inaccurate revisions, which tend to further confuse a fellow student (Tsai, & Chiu-Feng, 2012). Such research would offer proper guidelines that students may use in facilitating the process of peer review. A teacher or the instructor should examine the suggested corrections before validating the exercise (Tang, 2012).

In this context, the learning of a second language necessitates the need of peer feedback among students. In such situations, a timely feedback is important because it helps the students in the process of writing (Tabatabaei, & Banitalebi, 2011). Therefore, the teacher can instruct students to act as fellow peers to provide this immediate feedback. It is evident that fellow students take ample time in offering feedback; hence, they tend to provide a thorough analysis compared to the teachers. It is worth noting that students prefer the teacher’s feedback based on judgment and assumption. Therefore, it is the role of the instructor to assure students on the benefits of peer feedback (Ferris, 2013). The peer feedback in development of L2 writing borrows a leaf from Vygotsky Sociocultural Theory. The theory highlights the importance of collective contribution of people in society towards the improvement and development of an individual (Cherry, 2014). For instance, peers in a learning environment take the responsibility of correcting their fellow students in the learning of a second language.

Additionally, Srichanyachon noted that there is an increase in research associated with peer feedback in L2 writing. Most of the literature tries to explore the belief of teachers concerning the practice in a classroom environment. Normally, teachers have a huge role to play in guiding students on ways of writing a second language. It is essential for students to have a good head-start when learning a foreign language. For instance, it may be difficult for a student in foreign language to correct mistakes learnt in the early stages of the lesson; hence, it is advisable for these students to avoid any simple grammatical mistakes early on. Therefore, teachers should have positive beliefs about peer feedback to facilitate the learning process (Srichanyachon, 2011).

In his paper, Torres (2013) suggested that it is important to have the right attitude in order to have a successful peer review feedback. Such as endeavor requires an active participation from the students because they act as mentors to their fellow students. However, a teacher’s belief in the practice is paramount especially during the implementation stage. The learning of a second language is different from other academic courses because it requires interest and enthusiasm from students (Torres, 2013).


Bitchener, J. & Ferris, D. (2012). Written Corrective Feedback in Second Language Acquisition and Writing. London: Routledge.

Cherry, K. (2014). What Is Sociocultural Theory? Retrieved from:


Ferris, D. (2013). Response to Student Writing: Implications for Second Language Students. London: Routledge.

Hirschel, R. (2011). A qualitative study in grammar logs. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 6(2), 126-139.

Li, N. (2013). Seeking best practices and meeting the needs of the english language learners: Using second language theories and integrating technology in teaching. Journal of International Education Research, 9(3), 217.

O’Neill, S. (2012). Teaching and assessment of persuasive writing: Juggling the language features and grasping the metalanguage. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 7(1), 84-98.

Srichanyachon, N. (2011). A comparative study of three revision methods in EFL writing. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(9), 1-8.

Tabatabaei, O., & Banitalebi, A. (2011). Feedback strategies in foreign language reading classes. Asian Culture and History, 3(2), 59-70.

Tang, R. (2012). Academic Writing in a Second or Foreign Language: Issues and Challenges Facing ESL/EFL Academic Writers in Higher Education Contexts. Edinburg: A & C Black.

Torres, G. (2013). Empowering the language learner: Language learning strategy training and self-regulation in an EFL classroom. Journal of International Education Research, 9(3), 267.

Tsai, Y., & Chiu-Feng, L. (2012). Investigating the effects of applying monitoring strategy in EFL writing instruction. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(13).

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