Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confidence in Student Writers

After having multiple sessions throughout this semester, I have noticed that each of the students I see have different levels of confidence. I thought to myself, “What could possibly be the reasoning for it? Could outside factors be the cause?” The class I am assigned to is very diverse. With some students from other countries or backgrounds, they tend to have a tougher time than those who are familiar with English.

International students may have difficulty learning the rules of academic English. Having to struggle with academic English and keeping up with class assignments, especially at the college level, is not easy. Assignments themselves can be difficult or new to the student and that may lower their confidence. For example, I had a student who had never completed a research paper before. I asked her what she found was most difficult for her to accomplish the paper. Her response was the pressure of making sure the format and APA style was correct, as well as using only third person. When knowing that there is a grade to come from a paper, making sure the paper is perfect can cause writers anxiety and more mistakes. Without having pressure on the student to exceed expectations, it affects the student’s confidence to have a strong paper and their own skills.

On the flip side, there was another student who had no problem writing the same assignment. Instead the opposite happened. Few questions were asked when we were both going over her paper. I then asked her a question about the paper to see if she saw the need to improve any specific area of her paper. I did not imply that there was, but she was confident that her paper was just fine, leaving nothing left for me to do, but compliment her on her work.

As a writing fellow, it may be help to alleviate any tension the student has in order write their paper to their best capability and build their confidence. I was thinking about my own level of confidence in my work and wondered to myself. Do you believe that a tutor’s confidence brushes off onto the student?

                                                                                                                                                          

 

 

2 comments:

  1. Evelyn,
    As tutors, we are going to work with very different people. We are going to work with very good writers and others not as good. We are going to work with students with different backgrounds and distinct skills and I believe is vital to show ourselves confident while working with them. After all, they are seeking for our guidance and seeking reassurance. If we do not believe that we are capable of doing our job, then it is more than likely that they won't believe it either, which would make them doubt about the helpfulness of the writing center.

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  2. Yes, the tutor's confidence can carry over to their students. Granted, there are many pompous individuals who believe that they're writings are untouchable; like the ones who claim that they can formulate an eight page essay in less than three hours. Those nuts, however, might be a little harder to crack. On the other hand, students who are careful with their writing assignments (like Destiny’s' tutee who prepares ahead of time for her session) visit writing centers for correction and approval of their work. Can you imagine such student sensing a lack of confidence in their tutors? That student too, will become skeptical about his/her assignments. The uncertainty will result a cascading effect that will have a negative outcome.

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