Monday, September 20, 2010
September 7, 2010
Role of the Tutor???
Tutors play a vital role in the development and the progression of any student. Students go to a learning center to learn how to develop their writing skills and to receive guidance from someone who has expertise and more knowledge. This is where the difference between a tutor and a teacher comes in to play. Teachers are there to watch you and to set regulations on the material you learn and how you learn that material, whereas a tutor is there to guide you and allow you to create your own views and ideas. Tutors actually in my opinion, are more influential, because they allow for the student to find their own voice and develop their inner most thoughts and feelings. I know that tutors have the responsibility to judge whether a student actually wants help or if they are just looking for someone to write the paper for them. The relationship of the student tutor has to be one of respect. I think that the student has to want learn and the tutor to teach.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Reflective journal- What role does the tutor play…?
I haven’t spent much time in the writing center… any time for that matter. I think I had to borrow a stapler from there once, so I guess that means I’ve spent a little time. It’s not really somewhere I’ve ever felt drawn to. To explain, I’m not a natural at writing. I’ve spent many hours late into the night with the word processor. Fighting, mostly… though as abusive as the relationship is, I’ve never felt so rewarded as when we finally put something together that works. Because of that, I feel that I have an intimate understanding of what students are going through when the words just won’t cooperate. Being in this position has its advantages, and disadvantages. I know how frustrating it can be when even after all your work someone has the gall to tell you it’s not good enough. But I’m probably going to try and fix the paper for the student because of it. I don’t want to have to see any student struggle like I did, even if struggling a little is needed. Funny how the best way to help can sometimes be not helping. I know that stimulating critical thinking isn’t doing “nothing,” but you get the idea.
I think that the tutor is almost a deception. It’s like telling the student that there are other students that fix papers. Little do they know our goal is largely similar to that of the professor. Tutors try to help students learn to write papers, not fix problems for them. Not many hungry men asking for food want to go fishing. They just want the food.
The task seems somewhat daunting. I hardly think I’m fit to be telling anyone anything more than “it doesn’t sound good.” What do I do when a peer tells me that they have a teacher that grades papers quite strictly, and I can’t find anything wrong with the paper when they show me their work so far? What CAN I do?
The question asked for this journal is what role does the tutor play in helping the student learn about their writing? I believe the tutor plays a huge role in helping the student understand their writing and the best way to go about writing a paper. The tutor shouldn’t just write the paper for them they should ask questions about their style and what the writer would say in their own words, compared to what the tutor would say.
Of course the tutor should give the writer input and feedback, but not everybody is exactly the same when it comes to writing. The tutor should understand the writer’s style, and incorporate that with their own to get the best results. When the tutor has suggestions or corrections to the writers paper they should explain to them what they are doing, and why they are doing it.
I believe tutoring is a process of showing the writer their errors, and explaining to them what they can do to improve rather than rewriting the paper for them and sending them on their way. The writer should leave the writing center with the knowledge of what to do better next time and how to go about it. The tutor should ask them if they have any questions or concerns to see if they actually know how to improve the paper.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Reflective Journal #2
For this reflective journal we are required to answer the question, what role does the tutor play in helping the student? To be completely honest I cannot completely answer this question from a writing center point of view because I have never been to a writing center and do not know exactly how all the teaching there works, but I am pretty familiar with the classroom setting writing tutor.
We all know that writing centers are a bit different from class rooms and some may actually say that they are the complete opposite, however I feel like the role of the tutor is in the end the same whether they are in a class room or in a writing center. I feel like the ultimate goal is to make the writer better. The role of the tutor is to make sure that you help in a way that doesn’t slam the writer and doesn’t put them down. When I was in high school it was always your papers are graded in two ways bad, or good. Your paper was either good and received a good grade or was bad and was highly criticized with a lot of red marks made with that dreaded red pen and then was returned to you for corrections and the feeling of failure.
The tutor also needs to make sure that they give honest input there is nothing worse than a tutor that always says your work is great and to not change a thing. I don’t like suck ups and they do not help you become a better writer if I have a paper that is rambling on and does not flow I want to be told and I wouldn’t mind their suggestions on how to fix it, matter of fact I prefer them.
I read chapter one from a book titled The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring by Paula Gillespie and Neal Lerner. In the first chapter there are a few pages that are just accounts from people who were or still are students and they wrote about the type of tutoring they had and which type helped and which type didn’t, to me one thing seemed to always be the common issue, don’t suck up and don’t shut them down as a writer. Your goal as a tutor is to HELP and to shape someone into the brilliant writer we all have hiding within us.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Tutors need to work on using the concepts of control and flexibility in their tutoring. Taking more time to ask questions and explain would be more helpful to writers rather than giving advice right away. Control comes into play when the tutor asks questions directed toward higher order conders first. Flexibility comes into play when the tutor works with the answers writers provide, allowing writers to direct the course of the discussion.
Expertise can be helpful in tutoring if it helps writers have more control and flexibility as they write. Tutoring expertise should be used to help writers develop their own successful writing processes and used to help them think of ways to solve their own writing problems successfully. Tutors can ask writers what writing process they currently have and also explain what other strategies can be tried. Tutors can ask questions and explain various ways of solving writing problems so that writers can make choices and try to develop their own problem-solving skills. In the end, writers should gain confidence in their writing abilities because they have developed methods to control and be flexible with their own writing.
Sometimes tutors with experience can get into habits that leave them wondering whether they are really helping students, and they need to spend some time developing new habits. I know that I feel I am spending too much time being an expert sometimes. I also feel that applying the concepts of control and flexibility better would improve my own tutoring.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
To me, the role of a tutor is more descriptive than prescriptive. I previously thought tutors acted as editors but, as I’m quickly finding, this is not the case. The important aspects of tutoring seem to be guidance and “tutoring” as it’s defined, not editing. I like this idea: I’m a sort of confidant and not some literary correction machine, baring I could live up to that! I also like the idea of working to create better writers so they can correct their own mistakes in the future.
Another part of me, however, likes to focus on and sees the value in being punctually accurate. That part of me would not mind sitting there correcting papers all day; I see accuracy in a good light, but I know it isn’t in the best interests of a writer to just help them with it. On top of my inclination towards accuracy, I see myself as more prescriptive than descriptive. Working in the SWC will definitely help change these aspects of me, and I believe this will make me a stronger editor and tutor.
In my opinion, the best kind of teacher is one who gives the student multiple paths out of the words. Becoming more descriptive would allow me to get to that point. This seems challenging right now, becoming more descriptive, but it’s refreshing to know that all I need is practice. Chapter 3 of the Longman Guide has some great steps for conducting a one-on-one session, but there is more to be desired. For instance: what kind of notes are pertinent to write down? I have limited experience with taking notes while someone is speaking to me while having to pay attention to the overall conversation. Suffice to say note-taking will be important to practice.
The goal I wanted to achieve by revising my journal was to improve clarity; when I was reading my journal to Candace during our mock-session I felt like what I wrote sounded confusing, if not convoluted. I usually have a habit of writing this way, I guess because I find the active voice to be dull, or not interesting enough. This desire for intricacy generally leaves me writing in the passive voice, I think, and in turn my writing ends up clunky and sometimes hard to understand. Some of the sentences in my original journal were so long that, once you got to the end, you could have easily lost track of what the original idea was. I like building up sentences with long, grand introductions, but this doesn’t always lend itself to clarity. The best example I can point to is this:
“Adding the fact that I see myself as more prescriptive and less descriptive, my new position will certainly be one of habit-changing and working on setting my priorities to be in the benefit of the tutee.”
“On top of my inclination towards accuracy, I see myself as more prescriptive than descriptive. Working in the SWC will definitely help change these aspects of me, and I believe this will make me a stronger editor and tutor.”
Here I was able to split the one long sentence into two shorter ones and I think this instantly allows for better clarity. The first sentence is much more direct, just stating my overall attitude. While I still have the introductory reference to accuracy, I think it’s needed in order to contrast my feelings of prescription. I cleaned up the second half of the original sentence quite a bit by creating a much more succinct statement. Its original wording is a great example of what I was initially talking about when I started this reflection: it is clunky and baring on convoluted. With the revision I was able to clean up the wording quite a bit and better organize my thoughts. Splitting up the one long sentence into two was definitely needed in order to make these revisions.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
In any case, rather than sharing those, I'd rather share some rather creative and succinct commercials I just found from our friends at Brigham Young University. Take a gander:
Ok,ok, if you really want to see the SLCC SWC videos, go here.