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?


  1. I want my training to introduce me more thoroughly to the different standards of academic writing. I'm a graduate student in an English department; I know those academic norms - what are they in other fields? Other countries? But mostly I want my training to force me to look at my own tutoring practices, not just the writing of first and second year writing students. Tutor training may consistently introduce us to changing new freshmen writing, but after several years of that, it's old hat. Make us look at other tutors in action, so we can discuss what was effective, and what could have been improved. Make us look at ourselves.

  2. Its funny, but I wanted to be a writing center consultant for purely selfish reasons: I wanted to hone my editing skills. When I applied to the writing center I wanted to use my time there to develop new approaches to looking critically at my own work, and to make my own papers as perfect as possible. I don't think this is unreasonable, because I look at everything I do in my academic pursuits from this perspective. However, what I have discovered as I have begun to consult on more and more papers is that I enjoy the process as well. This was actually a surprise to me, because while I do have a desire to be good at what I do, I did not expect it to actually make me feel good too! So now, I get a sort of double bonus out of working at the center. And if you include getting to know the super-awesome, rad dudes that also work at the center, then I feel triply blessed!


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