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free ticket to copyediting town

Hi Peers. After my last session, I have come to the startling realization that I profile students by the writing they bring to the center. I claim to be all for assisting in making better writers, not better writing. But when a student brings in any sort of application, statement of purpose, or CV-like document to work on, I accidentally throw all of my consultant theory out of the window. I transform into a busy-bodied stage mother, trying to make them as presentable as possible without really embracing the larger idea. These students are going to be applying to things for the rest of their lives, and just as I want to help them learn to strongly revise their papers themselves, I should want them to strongly build their own applications. In reality, I am probably (hopefully) exaggerating my issue of control and favoring product over process in consultations focused on applications. But it is an issue that I just realized could be a problem in my tutoring style--if I'm here to help the student, and the student wants to make his paper adhere to standards that would allow his admittance into a program, and we only have thirty minutes...might the consultation seem more product-based?


  1. While the image of you as "a busy-bodied stage mother" is fascinating, I do think you are blowing this a bit out of proportion. I hold to the idea that we should strive for pure collaboration, but that it will not always happen. At times, I think pure collaboration is a hindrance--i.e., working with ELL students or technical documents. In your case, how could you have been collaborative? How could you have helped him in thirty minutes to be a stronger person? If you have could have, my guess is you would have. But your options were limited by the genre, the writer, and the time.

    I can still see you spitting on a Kleenex to clean some poor kids face.

  2. I do think that when working with "application letters" we (and I mean I) tend to focus more on the product itself; but, I don't think this implies that we are not being collaborative. While I also feel some kind of investment in making sure that the product is the best in can be - for many of the same reasons you stated in your post - I still think that the writer is at the core. After all, most of these types of letters are "about" the writer, which to me, lends to be a collaborative environment.


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