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Showing posts from November, 2008

Consultations to fulfill class/assignment requirements

Hello, this is Eric from the BSU Writing Center. We had a discussion in class the other day about students who come in to the writing center to fulfill a requirement for an assignment. In other words, a student gets points for turning in proof of a writing center consultation. Some tutors thought this was irritating because the student may show a lack of concern and involvement with the session, caring only about getting the proof of consultation form and not about learning or improving their writing. The idea came up that these sessions steal time away from writers who earnestly want help with their writing.

I am not entirely sure where I stand on this issue, though, because I can see some positive aspects of these sessions. A situation like this can make for a frustrating and unproductive session, but it could also be a means of introducing the benefits of a writing consultation to someone who otherwise would have never explored what the writing center has to offer. Personally,…

Service Learning Reflective Writing Podcast

The Peer Writing Advisors (yes that's what they chose to be called many years ago) from the Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center have put together their first podcast episode on service-learning reflective writing. The podcast can be found on the "Step ahead with writing" podcast page. Click on the link at the top labeled "StepAheadPodcast" to see the list of episodes. (There is only the one currently.)

Helping or Hindering

Hello, this is Susan from Boise State's Writing Center and ENGL 303 class. Last Friday (the 7th) I conducted a consultation with a student who was to write an eight- to ten-page persuasive essay. She brought two pages with her and was seeking help in finding more to write about to in order to fill the instructor's requirement. I felt I gave her quite a bit of information to ponder, focusing on the three main parts of the essay: introduction, body, conclusion, as well as a few extra things, such as background and personal experiences. I asked her specific questions regarding her topic, and in doing so, she was able to formulate the rest of her essay.

"So what is the problem?" you ask. Well, when looking over her notes, she realized she still had a lot of research to do. She came to the Writing Center on Friday and the paper was due on Monday. She was clearly dismayed. Even though I felt the session had gone well overall, and she had enough information to fill the neede…

Team Effort: Contrasting Collaboration

Howdy, Phil and Rick here from the BSU 303 class. A couple of weeks ago we had an irregular session (as if any could be regular), and we wanted to get some input from the peanut gallery. Don't let the third person throw you off...

A student had an appointment with Rick to go over grammar and structure in his paper. The student was an ELL writer, and came to the appointment having already worked with Phil on a similar paper. During the session, the student repeatedly reminded Rick that the paper was due in an hour, and that he just needed to know what was wrong and how to fix it. Rick resisted the idea of straight out telling him what to do. For awkwardly worded phrases, Rick decided to ask the writer to think about other ways he could word them, without telling him what the 'correct' way to phrase them would be. The writer became increasingly agitated with Rick, and was not engaged with the session. He asked several times if Phil was free, and if he could work with him inst…

Philosophical View

Hello everyone,

Lizzy here from the elite and famous 303 class at Boise State.

We are coming to the end of this grand semester here at BSU, and I'm starting to think about my end or term paper. We have to write a pedagogy about ourselves as consultants.
I don't know about my class mates, but I'm freaking out.
I decided to use the Brooks essay on 'Minimalist Tutoring' and pick out the good and bad things about it. Mike gave me an idea for an article to look at as well (now the name escapes me) and I would like to take this moment to thank him. :)

But... I'm having second thoughts. I really don't know.
I want to be the kind of consultant that teaches each writer I sit down with something new about writing. I want to spread my passion for writing with the world and get people excited about it.

Does anyone have any ideas for me? Any articles that fall on the lines of, "Saving the world, one consultation at a time" ?

I would really appreciate your input. :)

-Li…

Pondering

A few weeks ago I helped make an advertisement video for the Boise State Writing Center to put on YouTube. Actually, I was in two videos, but one was a group shot, so I am part of a team, not myself.
The video I am in is to help prospective consultants understand some aspects of working in the writing center. A few veteran consultants and a consultant currently in training were video-taped answering questions. The questions were nothing strange, nor were they ground-breaking. But they did get me thinking.

What do we as consultants want out of our training and experience? There are numerous articles about how to train and what to train and what to expect; what do we want? Yes, we want to help writers, but we are all critical readers and know to look deeper than that.

This is an honest question: What do you want out of your training and experience in your writing center?

Are WCs asking too much of peer tutors?

At his plenary wrap-up of the Joint NCPTW/IWCA Conference, writing center and peer tutoring legend Harvey Kail asked a simple question in response to the various ideas that came his way during the conference: "Are we asking too much of peer tutors?" Harvey was referring to specifically, I think, Nancy Grim's keynote challenge that writing centers take on new social realities and extend their project to important issues in social justice such as anti-racism work (among others.) (By the way, I only had the opportunity to record the tail end of Nancy's speach, and I will no doubt be podcasting it soon.)

After he finished his talk, Harvey had us write on 3 questions--all relating to the challenges that the conference threw at us as writing center folk. The table I went to sit at were very interested in Harvey's statement about peer tutors. One person thought it was a false dichotomy, as if there was one pure thing that we are asking of peer tutors and that was …

Stray cats

No, I'm not writing about the 80's Brian Setzer band project, but about the cats that are wandering around the Alexis Hotel where the 2008 NCPTW/IWCA joint conference is being held. Today, as I was walking back to my room taking a break from being Lord Techmeister General, I noted the cats that someone had mentioned to me earlier that day or yesterday. They, of course, are not really stray cats (being that they never really had a home) but are true wild cats. They, no doubt, rome the Alexis grounds catching vermin and birds for a living. They may dine on the odd convention sandwich carelessly left on a bench, but hey, that's free food, and who is going to refuse free food?

Now what 's the point, you are asking yourself and me while you read this? I found these cats rather interesting. Here they are, hanging on to this resort--making it their own lair. They live quite well here. I came upon a crew of them in mid-cat-argument. One was strutting his stuff. Another…