Do you use peer feedback and critique in your classroom?

Empowering learners to think critically about their peers’ work is one of the best ways to build a rigorous, student-centered environment, and move from:

Teacher assessed – – – – > Self, Peer, Expert Critiqued Work. 

The problem is, most of us aspiring student-centered practitioners (me included) never taught our students how to provide it.

Pictured above is a group of girls offering feedback to a peer around her project to foster greater understanding of African Culture through hands-on workshops.

Their facilitator did more than set up feedback groups, she also provided…

🙌🏼 A 5 step protocol to guide the process.
🙌🏼 Feedback forms to help capture insights.
🙌🏼 Sticky notes to help differentiate ‘warm’ from ‘cool’ comments.
🙌🏼 Visible sentence starters to ensure it is well received.
🙌🏼 A mock session from the front of the classroom to model the feedback giving/receiving process.

Do you provide the same scaffolds? Here are 5 pro TIPS for how to run a highly effective critique session:

  • Use the TAG Feedback Protocol: What: The TAG Protocol encourages students to provide feedback by mentioning something they Thought was done well, Ask a question, and Give a suggestion. Why: This structure helps maintain a positive and constructive environment, reducing the chance of criticism being taken personally. Looks Like: In the classroom, during peer review sessions, students sit in circles and apply the TAG method to provide targeted feedback on each other’s projects/work, ensuring a balanced approach that promotes growth and improvement.


  • Provide Sentence Starters: What: Sentence starters are pre-formulated beginnings to sentences that help students articulate their thoughts more clearly and confidently. Why: They guide students in structuring their responses, making it easier to participate in discussions and express complex ideas. Looks Like: You might hand out cards or display prompts such as, “One strength of your work is…”, or “Have you considered…?” during critique sessions, helping students to kickstart their feedback contributions.


  • Appoint a Student Facilitator: What: A student facilitator leads the feedback session, ensuring that each peer speaks and the feedback remains constructive. Why: This empowers students, fostering leadership skills and ensuring that the feedback process is adhered to respectfully and productively. Looks Like: In practice, the facilitator might manage the flow of a session, time each feedback slot, and intervene if the feedback veers off track, maintaining an organized and respectful environment.


  • Give Students Time to Think: What: Allocating specific time for students to reflect before they give feedback. Why: This allows students to formulate thoughtful and meaningful responses rather than superficial or impulsive comments. Looks Like: After presenting a project/idea/piece of work, there might be a silent reflection period where students write down their thoughts before sharing them aloud, enhancing the depth of the discussion.


  • Model the Process First What: Teachers demonstrate the feedback process by critiquing a sample work or by being the subject of critique. Why: This shows students the appropriate tone and structure of constructive feedback and sets clear expectations. Looks Like: You might critique your own work or invite critique from the class, thereby demonstrating how to receive feedback graciously and how to incorporate it effectively.


A Book Full of Strategies, Ideas and Resources

Shifting from a teacher-assessed to self, peer, and expert critiqued classroom is just one of 12 key shifts for student-centered environments featured in my new book coming in August!

Through inspiring stories, concrete strategies, and ready to use resources, you will be empowered to make each shift and unleash greater agency in your classroom as well.

Join several other aspiring student-centered practitioners and pre-order your copy here: 

Here’s to empowering learners through peer critique!

Your [co] learning experience designer,

P.S. Yes, I know there is an AI solution that can provide specific, tailored feedback to students in seconds. I’m all for it: Student Work Magic AI Feedback Tool. But tread lightly 🙂 Giving and receiving high-quality feedback is a lifelong skill all of our students need!