Thursday, September 18, 2008
Maslow's Hierarchy and the Writing Center Philosophy
GOOD BLOG TO YOU. As I read through the essays about writing center philosophy in our training class, I have begun to see a trend. It is obvious that the ultimate goal outlined in these articles is that a writing center should make students better writers through helping them to take ownership and agency in their work. Every essay and discussion is centered around a student finding their own way through the process, and becoming self actualized in the process. Taking true ownership depends on being outside the structure and thinking beyond grades and the desire of a professor for a certain project. Even the training class is an example of this. It is structured to give the students as many chances as possible to find the solutions for themselves. There are sometimes in there that it is a little frustrating, and I just want to hear that 'the answer is BLANK'. But it really does allow us to empathise with a student in that type of model. It's sort of a learn through example setting. But it is also contrasted by what I have been observing in the center. I have found that many of the sessions revolve around structure and grammar, and I see the tutors taking allot more control in directing the outcome of the papers than what is seemingly recommended by the essays on tutoring. So, I see a rift between the ideal and the application. And as I was thinking about it, I began to see parallels between the writing center philosophy and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow says that to achieve true self actualization, and truly be free, you must first address the basic needs of body, shelter, emotional stability, etc. Couldn't the center's philosophy be just another interpretation of this model? I think it can. If you do not address the basic needs of the writer, like how they approach writing, grammar, structure, and understanding of analysis, it seems nearly impossible for them to achieve true ownership of their writing, and be that better writer that we want them to be. But, maybe that's what it's all about.
While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the id...