An exemplary way to deal with trolling

Zahid RazzakWe have had a small problem recently with some students trolling the Peer Feedback system. If you are a teacher, you will know well that student empowerment can come at the cost of students being empowered to do the things they want and not the things you want.

95% of these inappropriate comments got caught by our filters and human moderators, so it wasn’t a major issue, but I felt it was time to reverse the trend. I wrote to our power users – the teachers who set the most assignments, and who therefore, statistically, must be teaching the largest number of trolls. I showed them where to check their students’ Peer Feedback statements, and asked them to address any issues they found with their own students.

I got a lot of really great responses from teachers, and even a few apology letters from students, but my favourite response came from Zahid Razzak at The British International School, Abu Dhabi. Here’s what he said

Many thanks for sending me those lists, I will certainly use this as an opportunity for a constructive lesson on how to provide feedback to others and netiquette.

Kind regards


That’s the way to turn a problem into an opportunity!

To check your own students’ Peer Feedback statements:

Could we automatically analyse your students through their writing?

I have been experimenting this morning running Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) over students’ peer feedback responses. So far, all I’ve done is analyse the last 50,000 responses in aggregate, and only on a few dimensions. Here is what I found:

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The ‘personal’ and ‘formal’ columns are comparison averages generated by the system. I assume those are from bodies of text written by adults.

What stands out to me is how much more Continue reading

Using Peer Feedback statements in plenaries

My thanks to Beth Evans, of The Queen Elizabeth’s High School, Gainsborough for this idea.

Beth wrote “I did screen shot one question that came up whilst I was testing a quiz I had written and used it as a plenary to the previous* lesson as part of the critera setting for the next task.”
* I think this should have been “next”.

This is a fantastic idea. It should be easy to train your students to screenshot particularly challenging choices and Continue reading

Peer-written formative feedback: this is how well it really works.

Feedback entry with textI would like to share with you the original inspiration for our current programme of peer-written formative feedback. Back in the Autumn Term, I ran a small-scale competition to test the concept. To my surprise, all the winners came from The Appleton School in Benfleet. Perhaps it was due to the Continue reading

Actual student-written formative feedback statements

Feedback entry with textIt’s coming up to lunchtime on the first day of our peer feedback experiment, and I’m incredibly excited at how well it is going. We have had about 1000 peer-written statements in so far and I wanted to share some of the best of them with you. If the authors of these are your students, you have the right to feel proud.

Continue reading