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Showing posts from September, 2007

I'm sorry, I have no words to express what i know

in our intro class we've talked a lot about ELL students and how to manage the consultations in the most productive manner...i felt prepared. I felt ready. I got slammed with insecurities today. I had a student, who is from Russia, studying at bsu on a fellowship. He spoke English very well. When I'd ask questions about areas of the paper i found confusing he was more than able to articulate his intent to me. But, the writing itself was confusing and full of grammatical errors. Furthering the confusion on the sentence level, was his choice of phrases. He used "by the way of," in the the terms of "in consideration of." many phrases native speakers understand inherently. While his sentences were not incorrect, they were not "standard" English. As a tutor where do i stand? correct his correct sentences. I told him they were awkward phrases to native speakers, not normally used in the fashion he was applying them. But, he wasn't wron…

Just curious as to your thoughts...

Hello,

Well, I had my first and second consultations yesterday, and I think that they both went pretty well considering that I’m new at this whole thing and all. My first consultation was with a non-traditional student working on a journal entry for her ongoing class journal—each journal entry encompasses the class readings for the week, and is also to include her reflection upon them. She expressed that she’s had this professor before and always received good grades, but that this professor’s new graduate student grades the entries very critically. She seemed very upset about this and told me that she’s being marked down for her use of passive sentences. She then told me she didn’t know what a passive sentence was, and asked me if they are grammatically incorrect—this stumped me a bit. Passive sentences aren’t grammatically incorrect, but unless used vary the stylistic approach or to overemphasize something other than the subject, they can be tough for a reader to get through. I expla…

Assignments

As a student and a new tutor, I can’t help but think about particular assignments that professors have given out to my peers and me. Sometimes I feel as though I have completed my fair share of essays and writings that have, in the end, led me to question what purpose was served to complete them. To make this feeling even worse, some of them become so structured and restricted that I feel like I am simply filling in the blanks like I would on a math test. When I am finished, I turn it in with my name on it and get some sort of grade for an assignment that I feel like the professor actually did more work in preparing than I did answering. It seems sometimes that some professors are giving out assignments that blatantly follow a set of guidelines and instruct you to do the same. Where is the productivity in that?
I know that we have all felt like this before, and will continue to feel like this many times in our life. It seems so easy to jump on the bandwagon and say that professors and…

Letting Go

Yesterday was my first day actually taking consultations. I wasn't nervous or uncomfortable, in fact I felt quite relaxed. Two of the three consultations were about APA formatting, which always has its own challenges, but were fairly straight forward and easy to address. My third (actually the second if we are going in order) was about an essay test. The student had a handwritten draft of the essay and was obviously frantic about the piece... I wonder if she was more stressed over the anxiety of taking the exam. She said she needed help, a lot of help. I asked her what specifically she wanted to look at and she said everything. She showed me an outline that another student (I am assuming a higher level student in her major) had given her to work from.

We started by reading her paper aloud, then I asked her questions about following the outline and how the paper didn't seem to line up that way and if that was intentional. She said no so we worked on that a bit. Then we…

Hope, Optimism, and Awkwardness

Coming straight off my Noise From the Writing Center high, I arrived for my after-class shift at the writing center yesterday a little fuzzy. Should I be hopeful about my sessions today or should I be optimistic? How much control do I really have between the two?

My first session was my most awkward seesion ever. Perhaps I had been getting too optimistic about things, perhaps my optimism turned into blind pride, I don't know the session didn't satisfy the writer's or my optimistic outlooks.

The student was working on a complicated research proposal, and seemed well-acquainted with the center. I started to feel self-conscious right away, when he pointed to a veteran consultant and asked his name, so that he could make an appointment with him next time. Looking back, it really was a good question, he probably had worked really well with that consultant before (he's a great consultant) and wanted to continue with that dynamic. But of course, in the moment, I felt lik…

The Writing Center Brings New Experiences

I knew coming into this semester that I would be faced with challenges and many new experiences. Starting my internship with the Writing Center would guarantee it. I anticipated meeting new people, interacting with peers in a different way than in class, and stretching myself between 19 credits, a part time job, and a dog named Lucy who requires constant my- hand-to-her-head contact.

My biggest concern coming into the Writing Center was assisting ESL and ELL students. In E303, I have paid great attention to discussions that center around this topic and struggled to believe whether I am qualified to help these students or not. Interestingly enough, my very first hour observing in the Writing Center I sat down with Melissa, a seasoned tutor and Tom, an ESL student. How serendipitous.

Tom, a junior standing marketing major, brought in a memo for his Business Comm class. Mostly concerned with sentence construction and grammar, Melissa began by reading the assignment sheet provided b…

Thoughts on the Issue of Control

Hello all,

While reading through Lundsford’s essay Collaboration in the Writing Center, I found myself very fond of the "The Center as Garret" model of the writing center—in love with its ideologies in fact—a true "Romantic" I suppose. I do strongly believe in "individualism" and "individual ‘genius’ (48). Perhaps this directly stems from my own experience in writing, in my previous conversations with writers, and in my deep-seated love of all forms of writing and its ability to enable individual expression—whatever the reason, I believe that I may be a true Garretarian. Now, according to Lundsford this poses a problem when attempting to foster a true "collaboration." As seen in her essay, Lundsford "challenges" the "Storehouse Center" and "The Garret Center" ideologies by offering up a third option for consulting, the "Burkean Parlor Center" (51). Although I agree with Lundsford’s idea of making a cen…

Thoughts on . . . achieving writing agency?

In “A Cultural Studies Agenda” Marilyn Cooper writes, “what they [tutors] know about institutional constraints is true and important, they also need to help students understand that if they are to achieve agency in writing, they must learn how to challenge these constraints productively in the service of their own goals and needs” (MS 59).

At the conclusion of my literacy narrative, I had imagined that, in the sixth grade, “I learned that whatever your argument or perspective is, the right format can allow you to express it.”

Even if this were true, students often don’t have a lot of choice regarding format. At times, the challenge is to express yourself within someone else’s chosen format. Even when the assignment is fairly open to interpretation, it can be difficult to do just that. As a student you ask not only, “What do I want to say and how can I get my point across?” but also, “How can I complete the assignment most effectively?” (That last question includes concern for achieving …