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How‌ ‌Peer‌ Grading‌ Could Help ‌Students‌ ‌Develop‌ ‌Professional‌ ‌Writing‌ Skills

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Peer grading is a process where students seek and give feedback to one another based on set assessment criteria. Online training platforms have lately been experimenting with this feature to increase interaction and engagement, and build a classroom-type structure for online learners. Peer grading feature is an extremely beneficial tool for learners enrolled in online writing courses as it helps them get readers’ feedback to improve their writing skills. Those who wish to become better writers and want to make a career in fiction writing, non-fiction writing, editing, screenplay and advertising or publishing can extract significant insights from their peers’ feedback. Peer grading has numerous advantages that help in the development of students’ writing skills. Some of these include: 

  • Diverse and timely feedback: Instructors are usually occupied with multiple batches of students. Thus, delivering detailed and timely feedback on every assignment becomes time consuming. With one instructor handling humongous tasks, students might get delayed and inaccurate feedback, they might get lesser time to rectify their mistakes, and they might experience a lack of diverse feedback. Peer grading allows students to anonymously share unbiased and detailed feedback on each other’s assignments which saves time and broadens their perspective. They get inspiration from others’ writing styles and get a better understanding of their own work. Timely and diverse feedback provides more room for practising, allows students to improve in every other assignment, reduces the odds of overestimating or underestimating their own skills, and encourages them to read and write more.
  • Writing for a broader audience: Peer grading helps students practice writing professionally for a larger audience, and not just for the sake of completing assignments. Students take assignments seriously and work with utter dedication to ensure they perform the best they can. They learn to keep their audience in mind, choose a niche and find writing ideas accordingly; they observe and research with a broader perspective; and avoid sensitive or offensive content. Response from peers also improves their writing style, choice of words, sentence framing, brevity in content and allows them to be expressive. Students also learn to structure their content according to the genre, type of audience, their age group, demographic and forms such as fiction, feature, news, advertisement or nonfiction.

  • Learn to detect, rectify, and avoid mistakes: Peer grading helps develop a sense of reflective comparison where students compare their own writing style, words, structure and mistakes with that of their peers and work dedicatedly towards improving themselves. In the process of giving feedback and detecting others’ errors, students unknowingly find and remember their own unique and repetitive mistakes and ensure that they avoid these in future. Common mistakes such as wrong or no insertion of punctuation marks, usage of a wrong word, spelling mistakes, capitalisation, faulty sentence structure, misplaced apostrophe, lengthy sentences or missing articles can only be detected and avoided with continuous writing practice. Well-structured write-ups with fewer mistakes highlight students’ focus, dedication, and professionalism towards writing and helps them find better career opportunities in the future. 
  • Development of critical thinking and cooperation skills: Inclusion of the peer grading feature in an online training increases students’ interest and sincerity in assignments and projects. They spend more time in critically analysing, revising, revisiting, rewriting, and editing their write-ups before submission. While giving feedback, they critically evaluate other’s work, think in different directions, analyse assignments on the basis of given criteria, and detect, solve, and suggest solutions for complex problems. Students also learn to write and cooperate with a team of writers where they construct and express feedback positively, learn to take feedback on their write-ups positively, and incorporate the suggestions, ideas, and feedback of multiple people in their writing, which is extremely essential in the professional world. 
  • Find and choose their genre of writing: As not everyone can become a novelist, scriptwriter, advertisement writer, blogger, corporate writer, academic writer, or journalist, it is essential for students to find the genre of their interest and expertise. While an online training features multiple modules of writing and teaches different genres such as fiction, non-fiction, screenplay and advertising, peer grading helps them choose the genre that perfectly suits their writing skills and capabilities. Working on multiple assignments of different genres such as writing a character sketch, editing a short story, self-assessment of the editing skills, writing a news feature, writing a screenplay for a scene or reading comprehension, and getting feedback on the same helps students find the best genre and pursue a career in the same. 

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings is an e-learning platform to learn new-age skills from Internshala.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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