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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Consultant Mentoring

Augh! What is this black magic that made the summer go by in such a fleeting moment? As I settle in to thinking about The Return of the School Year, I think about our newbie consultants, who will be taking to The Center for the first time this fall. Here at BSU's Writing Center, we are looking for rich ways to develop connections between veteran consultants and new consultants. We're thinking about observation & disc Have you have good experiences of mentoring or being mentored in any ways in your work? I would love to hear about them!

6 comments:

  1. hmm, I hit submit before I realized I had a weird half sentence hanging out there in the middle. Let me add to "We're thinking about observation & disc" to say We're thinking about observing consultations and discussing them afterwards, as well as maybe a letter writing correspondence.

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  2. maybe dialogue journals? since we aren't often in the center at the same times/ or too busy to talk amongst ourselves. we could write when we have spare minutes, and pass them back and forth between our mailboxes. don't know about prompts or whatever, but it could spark some conversation? I totally was NEVER one to pass notes in class . . .

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  3. We're lucky at our WC, we have a tenured prof as Director, and he conducts a full semester, credit-bearing course for new tutors. So of course our newbies are having conversations within their classroom, facilitated with articles, exercises, and prodding questions from the director.

    In the WC itself, we then go on to mentor the new tutors by bringing them into the sessions; first they just observe and discuss wit the tutor afterwards what they saw. Then slowly they begin to participate in sessions when comfortable, and finally take over with another tutor observing. It's a good way for the tutors (old and new) to recognize not only weaknesses and strengths in their tutoring, but also the differences in tutors' individual styles. These kind of conversations really helped me develop my personal style by letting me know that I didn't have to fit a specific mold or be a "perfect" tutor.

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  4. After you've become veteran consultants, do you ever go through the writing center process yourselves? I think that would help me as a new consultant enormously, to "help" a veteran with a real paper. Of course you'd have to be honest and tell us how "helpful" we really are!

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  5. A lot of our experienced tutors bring in their own papers, though I had never thought about it in terms of a "teachable moment" for the new class. But I can definitely see how it would be helpful; already having rapport, and a writer who is engaged and already familiar with WC practices. The new tutor could focus just on the paper, without the added pressure of working with a stranger.

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  6. I really like the observation/discussion model. It works well to get folks interacting with each other. It is also useful the other way around. After the new consultant gets her "legs," a veteran can observe and give feedback. It can be intimidating to the new folks, of course, so you have to be careful in how it is implemented.

    I also like having new consultants "tag team" a consultation--either with a new colleague or a veteran. This works well to make the new consultant feel a bit less anxious about those first few sessions.

    Of course there is always PeerCenterd!

    Finally, one method I found useful is working on a team project. Last year, for example, we worked on a podcast project for service learning. Previously we've done things like videos etc. This is a good way to build a collaborative spirit among consultants.

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