More Deep Thoughts From Cassie

Today I had a pretty cool consultation, because I helped someone that didn’t get the right kind of help the last time she was in the writing center. Of course, that’s unfortunate that she didn’t get help the last time she was in the center—and I’m not blaming any consultants for that; consultations really are a two-way-road. Consultants can help as much as they can, but writers need to know what they need help with, and then take something out of the consultations. The first time she came in, I don’t think it sounded like she knew what she needed help with—hence, her coming back. But, anyway, it felt awesome to really help someone and know it.

She came to get help revising some movie reviews she’d written. It was kind of a unique consultation for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t get to help people with reviews very often. Two, this consultation didn’t go in the same “routine” as most of my other consultations do.

A typical “routine” would be reading the whole paper, correcting grammar along the way, and then discussing where the writer could expand, or what needs clarification. This was not the case. We worked on a paper without reading it—because she wanted to start over. But it wasn’t much like a brainstorming session, either. Together, w tried to de-code exactly what the teacher really wanted. Once we figure out what type of review the professor wanted, we tried to figure out how to go about doing that in the only way we could think of: looking it up online.

So, we went online and read other professionally-written reviews, to get a sense of the style. I’d never done that in a consultation before, but it was extremely fun, and it seemed to have really helped her. But it also seemed to have helped me. There’s just something about discovering new things and learning new things with the writer. It took me out of that “authoritative” tutor role, and it made me feel more like a peer, trying to learn with her, as though I had the same assignment. Together, we brainstormed all the criteria that go into a review. It was done in a way that I felt like I was teaching her, but yet, I was learning, too.

I don’t think I want to be a teacher, but if I do ever considerate it in the future, I feel like I learned a really cool teaching technique—and if I were to teach, I would definitely use it.


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