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Monday, November 13, 2006

PeerCentered Podcast1.2: Nancy Grimm

Nancy Grimm gave a provocative keynote address at the just-passed NCPTW in Ann Arbor. I recorded it and with her permission I have put it out in the PeerCentered podcast. This is the first in a series of podcasts based out of presentations from NCPTW.

2 comments:

  1. I surely enjoyed Nancy Grimm's keynote address and appreciated how much discussion it generated, particularly among tutors who were still raising hands and approaching the microphone when the Q&A ended.

    I was especially interested in how much attention Grimm and the discussants gave to Jeff Brooks and his "Minimalist Tutoring: Making the Student Do All the Work." In fact, Brooks's article received attention in many of the concurrent sessions as well. Most people noted some continuing value in the piece but generally seemed to find it too simplistic and idealistic, claiming that minimalist tutoring doesn't really work as cleanly as one might wish, and, if it did, the clean distinction between directive and non-directive tutoring has troubling theory-practice implications. Needless to say, Linda Shamoon and Deborah Burns's "A Critique of Pure Tutoring," in which they critique Brooks and tutors who use him uncritically, also received much attention at the conference.

    During Grimm's Q&A when she noted that she had never met Brooks and wondered whatever happened to him, Michele Eodice noted the "Whatever Happened To . . ." column in Writing Center Journal a few issues back where Neal Lerner tracked down Brooks and interviewed him. The column revealed that Brooks had written his influential article for Writing Lab Newsletter while working in the University of Delaware writing center as an M.A. student, after which he had moved to Seattle where he supported himself as a freelance musician and writer. I don't have the column with me now as I write this comment from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center where I am attending the NCTE convention, but I think Brooks is now working for an ad agency in Seattle as the art director.

    And now, after all that scene-setting, here's what I want to add to Grimm's podcast: despite what the NCPTW participants may think about the theoretical and practical limitations of minimalist tutoring, Brooks claims that his minimalist strategies work well with professionals in the work place. As a professional, he uses minimalist tutoring all the time.

    For what it's worth, --Jon

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  2. Thanks for the update on Brooks's whereabouts, Jon. I still like to use the piece in our staff education course and it spurs a good deal of discussion of what is too much and what is too little when working with student writers, and, in fact, what it is that we are doing in writing centers in the first place.

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