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Showing posts from February, 2004
Have I taken a risk during a session lately? That is an intriguing question to consider, and as I started to think about risk-taking, in writing and in consulting, I had to think about what that means. To me, it's stepping out of comfortable territory. I think of it this way, because I was trying to recall if I felt I had taken a risk recently. And I have. This is my first semester consulting and I can see myself developing a staid routine. In my mind I follow the same steps, ask similar questions, and make similar comments. Of course each session is individual, and wrapped up in the relationship we as consultants develop with a client, their writing, etc. Despite this, I could see myself getting into a rut. And the problem this has with consulting, is that since all sessions are individual, they should be treated individually. For example, all students have different learning styles, and should be catered to individually. So, I challenged myself. During my last sessio…
In response to Clint's proposed question:

I don't know that I am the most risk-taking consultant in the history of the world. Maybe it's just because I am still pretty new at the whole consulting thing, but I guess overall I wonder how much I dare to do risky things.

I can think of one solid example, however: Tuesday I had a session with a client who wanted to brainstorm ideas for her argumentative paper. All the prompt said was "find a topic related to women and then make an argument." Not even kidding--it was so vague. We begain brainstorming and the more we started talking, the more information I found myself adding from my personal background. (Necessary background info: I am an English Major and one of my cognates (I like to think of them as mini-minors) is Women's Studies.) I shared some information, statistics, trends, etc. that I've been taught in my classes, and not only did my client appreciate it, I think it really helped her brainstormin…
I was challenged by Clint's question in regards to the last time a session was a risk for me and/or "really really fun." I honestly cannot recall the last time I took a risk in a session. There are lots of reasons for my non-extreme sport approach to consulting: students associate our help with grades; regardless of whether we consider ourselves experts or not, students certainly expect a certain level of expertise; I worry about my own accountability. I guess I'm wondering how to define risk...what would a consultant's risk look like? The good news is that I can easily recall a time when I had a really really fun session. I had one just today! I worked with 3 lively guys who were all in the throes of personal statement agony. By some circular route we reached a point where we were contrasting personal *statements* with personal *ads.* While it may sound frivolous, we were able to draw some really great comparisons and we are all laughing (lol!) at the end of …
"When is the last time you took a risk during a session with a writer? Writers, after all, risk a lot coming to us. What are we risking in return? When is the last time you could characterize a sessino as really, really fun?" --Elizabeth Bouquet, Noise from the Writing Center

I was re-reading Noise last night on the train and came across the above quotation. It is easy to fall into a rut, I guess. Some one is writing that about their training program on WCENTER. I liked Bouquet's book because it was risky in its approach and in its ideas. It challenges, I think, the idea of practice vs. risk taking. In many ways, I see it as an analogy to writing itself. Writing can be stagnant and commonplace, but the interesting stuff takes risks, doesn't it? Bouquet calls prescribed tutoring (and tutoring training for that matter) as low risk/low gain. It is "safe" I guess. High risk/high gain seems better to mean, but I wonder if high risk is not also ine…
The new semester has started off quite quickly for us; it has something to do with the increased enrollments. We've also had quite a few compliments lately from all sides--patrons--faculty--administration about our "vital service." I get the sense that "paper tension" is on the rise since there have been a couple of conflicts over the last couple of days. So starts the roller coaster.