In this series we’ve looked at a few ways to make the craft of peer revision more “crafty.” All of these exercises tend to be a big hit in my classes and I usually end up with stronger papers to grade because of this work.
But why? Why do students do this work so enthusiastically and so well? I have some theories:
- Fun Factor. Most of the students in the writing classes I teach are there because they have to be—the class is required. Most of them also have a troubled relationship to writing, thinking they’re not very good at it for example. Introducing craft-based activities introduces an element of fun into something many students find to be very hard work.
- Nostalgia. Teetering on the edge of adult responsibilities, students are reminded of a simpler time with these activities, a time filled with nap time and recess instead of exams and papers.
- Switched Registers. All of these exercises switch into a new register, allowing students a new perspective on writing, one in which they might see completely different things in their work.
- Learning Modes. Similarly, these activities touch on visual and kinesthetic learning in ways that can engage students who tend to learn in those modes.
I suspect there are other factors at play here and I will love to hear your thoughts. Do you have any “crafty” exercises? Why do you think they tend to work so well?