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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Students look to internet over library sources for final papers"

The Daily Free Press at Boston University explores what types of sources student writers are using in their writing. Writing tutor Eric Malczewski "notes that many of them tend to use online sources more than library sources" (12).

Zen and the Art of writing centers

The end of the semester it seems like it is particularly easy to fall into the cloudy trap of negativity in the writing center. There are so many many students with so many needs and outright demands, that the pressure one feels is palpable. I am working to keep things calm in the Student Writing Center: trying to reassure consultants who've had particularly tough sessions with students who are panicking; trying to ease the burden of session after session of non-stop writing response; trying to help student writers learn. Tension, of course, can be a good thing, but too much tension can lead to myocardial infarction. Likewise, in the WC biz we always have to be careful not to take on frustrations/tensions of the people who visit us. So while I'm working with the peer consultants to maintain their focus and positive regard for the writers who come to us, I too must find the quiet still place to make sure that it doesn't get to me either.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NCTE

I'm going to be traveling for the next few days to attend NCTE in Pittsburgh. I haven't had a chance to glance at the program yet. Hopefully I'll do a better job of blogging the Convention than I did with IWCA!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tutoring Disabled Students.

I had a session this past week in which I tutored a deaf student. It was a really interesting session, but I was also nervous about it; I didn't know what to expect from the student, who supposed to bring his interpreter but didn't. We spent our session typing out notes to each other on MS Word (I thought it would be easier - and I think it was - than handwriting everything we wanted to say); but I realized after our session was done that I didn't cover nearly as much as I would have with a non-deaf student. This was not particularly surprising in retrospect, but I should have stuck to a few points more than I did. I also realized that I wasn't as organized as I thought I would be; I wondered if I manage to get my message across to students who don't have learning disabilities, and what I could do differently; I had to reevaluate my effectiveness.

Each semester the director at my Writing Center encourages his tutors to either videotape or audiotape a session, listen to it (or watch it), and then reflect on it (in an e-mail to him, or the associate or assistant directors we have working with us this year). I have to admit that I'm truculent in doing this, because inwardly I'm worried about doing such a horrid job that I'll only get harsh criticism. (This is unfounded, of course.) I decided to keep the notes that my student and I typed as a means of communication, though, because of the comparative novelty of the situation. Halfway through the session I already knew what I could be doing differently, but it was difficult to shift gears so far into the session, so I decided to keep with it. The session wasn't my worst by any means, but I reflected later that I hadn't wanted to admit I wouldn't get as much "done" in the session; and that I would have to be better organized in choosing specific higher order concerns on which to focus.

I wonder if other tutors have had similar experiences, and what they've learned. And, more specifically, what those experiences actually were.

So much for good intentions

Well so much for good intentions about "Hot Topic Friday." In any case, I feel like I'm neglecting a pet with PeerCentered. Poor thing never gets fed on time and is in a world of hurt for some petting.