Shane Dykes
English 1810
Reflective Journal #2
For this reflective journal we are required to answer the question, what role does the tutor play in helping the student? To be completely honest I cannot completely answer this question from a writing center point of view because I have never been to a writing center and do not know exactly how all the teaching there works, but I am pretty familiar with the classroom setting writing tutor.
We all know that writing centers are a bit different from class rooms and some may actually say that they are the complete opposite, however I feel like the role of the tutor is in the end the same whether they are in a class room or in a writing center. I feel like the ultimate goal is to make the writer better. The role of the tutor is to make sure that you help in a way that doesn’t slam the writer and doesn’t put them down. When I was in high school it was always your papers are graded in two ways bad, or good. Your paper was either good and received a good grade or was bad and was highly criticized with a lot of red marks made with that dreaded red pen and then was returned to you for corrections and the feeling of failure.
The tutor also needs to make sure that they give honest input there is nothing worse than a tutor that always says your work is great and to not change a thing. I don’t like suck ups and they do not help you become a better writer if I have a paper that is rambling on and does not flow I want to be told and I wouldn’t mind their suggestions on how to fix it, matter of fact I prefer them.
I read chapter one from a book titled The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring by Paula Gillespie and Neal Lerner. In the first chapter there are a few pages that are just accounts from people who were or still are students and they wrote about the type of tutoring they had and which type helped and which type didn’t, to me one thing seemed to always be the common issue, don’t suck up and don’t shut them down as a writer. Your goal as a tutor is to HELP and to shape someone into the brilliant writer we all have hiding within us.


  1. I agree, Shane. An open, honest approach seems to be the best tactic. It is, of course, a fine line to walk between being overly critical and shutting someone down, and offering them honest feedback. The red pen approach often demoralizes writers, as you said. What's the best way to offer criticism without making the writer feel like a failure? That's the tough question I always have to ask myself.

  2. Anonymous8:56 AM

    I thought you hit the nail on the head. Even though tutors should not do the writing for someone, which does not lead to learning either, just marking a paper with no discussion does not help any more than writing the paper for someone. The idea is to have discussion so that the person can learn what to do or specific things that could help the writing into the future. That way they can work more independently.


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