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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Revision Reflections

This post is a revision of a reflection on "What role does the tutor play to help the student learn?" a question asked in my Writing Center Studies class. As part in the revision assignment, we were asked to have a mock-session with one of our classmates, taking turns acting as the tutor and then as a student, reading our reflections aloud. The next step was to revise our reflection based on the advice given in the tutorial session, and then reflect on how the tutorial session went. I confused myself, however, when doing the 2nd reflection and went on to talk about the corrections I made in the revision and why I made them. Hopefully this can still work to show how one goes about reflecting on their corrections.

Revised Reflection

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.


Correction Reflection


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:


Original:

“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.”


Revised:

“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.

1 comment:

  1. I like your take on the assignment, Joe, even if you confused it with another. I like how you are examining your own expectations about what it is to work in a writing center and how you fit into the scheme of things. Like Jeannette says in her post, echoing Lerner & Gillispe, one has to learn flexibility and control in this kind of work. You attention to your own writing shows great promise in that department.

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