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Abstract

When I finished drafting this chapter, I knew that it would be sent to a reviewer or two who would read it and write feedback that I would be expected to take into account when doing revisions. I would never see these reviewers and we would not have a conversation. I would not have the opportunity to ask them to clarify their comments or to focus on a part of the text that I’d found particularly challenging to write. I would not know if they had frowned over my draft or chuckled out loud or lingered over my language. I would take their feedback and do my best to interpret their meaning, as they had done their best to interpret mine, in isolation from each other. In this situation, the focus is constrained to be solely on the writing product, not on the writing process.

As teachers of writing, elementary school teachers focus on the writing products of their students, but they must focus more on the process of writing. They are responsible for teaching their students how to write. As a teacher educator, I am responsible for teaching my students–all preservice teachers–how to teach their students how to write. In order to do that effectively, I must make explicit how writers work. I must help my students engage in the talk that writers use as they make sense of how they work. One of the ways that writers talk about writing is by participating in discussions, focused on their writing products, with other writers. In the lexicon of writing process at the elementary school level, this is commonly referred to as peer conferencing.

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