Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From Discouraged to Inspired

My last post had me feeling a bit sad so I thought I would add an observation experience that left me feeling more positive. 

My last observation was completely different from my previous experience.  The tutor's name was X---- and the student's name was Y----.  [The tutor] introduced herself and smiled warmly at the student as they were walking back toward her desk.  The first question she asked was about his assignment.  He described to her that his professor wanted them to create a bibliography for a research paper they were going to do in the future.  Next X---- asked to see his prompt and after reading it suggested that they both take turns reading paragraphs.  By this point, Y---- had started writing his research paper but he was unsure about some areas.  They read through the introduction paragraph together and she noticed he didn't have a thesis.  She let him brainstorm and write a few ideas down about what he would like his paper to say while she went to get a research book.  While he was writing she continued to look for the book for proper MLA citations because it was something he mentioned being concerned with.  After his brainstorming session, X---- asked him what he had come up with.  At this point, Y---- was still uncertain.  He knew he wanted to do something on immigration in the U.S.  The tutor explained that this was the part of the paper where he had to pick a side on whether he thought the U.S was welcoming when it came to immigrants.  He said that he didn't think so and she bounced a few ideas around with him until they had successfully written a thesis statement.

After they were finished discussing the thesis, they moved on to some basic sentence structure problems that he was having such as how to phrase particular sentences so they didn't come across as awkward.  There was a general back and forth between the tutor that was nice to see after my previous observation.  She suggested he might want to look at a few online resources one involving citations.  His assignment called for six references and at that point he only had five so she tried to help him find another one.  Since the majority of his research tended to be in favor of his argument (that the U.S. is not welcoming to immigrants from other countries) she attempted to steer him towards searches that might led to a source that didn't support his views.  X---- was trying to help him create a more balanced paper like the teacher wanted though the student seemed to resist that.  After the session was over we talked about that for a few moments and she told me she tried her best to emphasis the need for information that would not support his claims and that he had to know what people on the other side of the argument might say against his reasoning.  On the whole I think the session was successful.  She tried to help Y---- with what he thought he most needed help with and when it was over suggested that he might come back early the next day (his paper was due in the late afternoon) after he made the changes and have someone else take a look at it. 


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