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Volume 5 Number 4, Winter 2008, Pages 1-210   

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Paired Peer Review in a Distance-taught EFL Writing Course

    Junhong Xiao

Researchers have adopted diverse perspectives on the effect of peer review on student writing in the field of teaching English as a First Language (E1L) and English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) in the past two decades. Nevertheless, researches have chiefly centered on conventional learning settings with on-campus students in mind; scant attention has been paid to peer review in the distance learning context despite the fact that distance EFL learning is a growing branch of English Language Teaching (ELT) in the world today. To fill the gap, this study reports on an action research project into paired peer review in a distance-taught EFL writing course at an open university in China to investigate the extent to which peer feedback was used to improve EFL writing, how it was accepted by Chinese distance English learners and how it impacted on their transferrable skills and self-efficacy, i.e. ‘beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments'(Bandura, 1997, p. 3). Findings from the study indicate that peer review has yielded good educational benefits in these areas although there is still room for improvement. The article also discusses ways to overcome obstacles and to tap into the potential benefits of peer review in the study of other courses.

Keywords: paired peer review, student writing, EFL, distance education