Learning to critically look at our own work is a difficult and challenging skill but yet it is one we constantly do; even if we don’t know it. Just imagine if Henry Ford thought his version of the Model T automobile was the only way to make a car. Each year, his team critically looked at the car design and manufacturing process to determine what needed to be changed to make it better. In the classroom, we learn to use this same skill to enhance our work.
Critique and revision can be one of the most important steps in Project Based Learning (PBL). This is the time after the project is completed but before it has been shown it to the public, so there is still time for changes. It’s the time we look at our work and ask ourselves, our teachers and peers, “what do you think of our project?” It can be a scary step for many, asking someone else to look at our work and hope they see what we see, understand what we are saying and to admire all of our hard work. To ask someone else to look at your work and to find mistakes can be terrifying for some. Well, the critique and revision step in PBL is more than just finding mistakes. It allows students to receive constructive feedback, revise their work and to reach a new level of quality.
So, how is the critique and revision step implemented in the classroom? A good example is with writing where we use a multiple peer edit process and ask classmates to read our work and critique it. The first time we used this step, students were nervous, almost embarrassed to let their peers look at their writing. They thought, “what are they going to think about my writing?”. However, once we started the process, this fear slowly was replaced with a sense of relief that someone else could help them to take their writing to the next level. We also use this step when we getting ready to present our projects to the public for their viewing. We know by asking others for their opinion about our work only enhances the final product.