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The Planning Stage

This week I have been spending a lot of extra time here in the Studio, and because of this I have been able to observe several of my fellow consultants at work. While I have seen many good things at work here, I have also noted a vital step that seems to be missing in nearly every consultation I have seen-- the planning step.
For those of you who do not know what the planning step is, let me enlighten you. The planing step is a vital step in the Anatomy of an Effective Consultation. In this step the consultant is to ask the writer what she or he wants to work on with the time remaining, giving some guidance. An example of this would be: "Alright Ben, we have about twenty minutes left. That gives us enough time to tackle two of the issues I have noted. Which would you like to tackle first?"
This stage is important because it is a necessary tool to help the student lead the way. I think that often times it becomes too easy to take the reins of the consultation, and we drive the student straight to where we want them to go. While the student would then leave the consultation happy, we have failed at doing our job which is to equip them with the tools they need to become a better writer. This planning step helps the students lead the way. It gives them the opportunity to choose what to work on, and this way when the student leaves, there is no way they can leave with the awful feeling that they did not get to work on what they felt they needed to. If we present this planning step we present options, and writing is all about options.
With that being said, lets work harder to incorporate the planning stage! It literally takes two seconds, but it is just as important to an effective consultation as any other step is! The planning step is the steering wheel, and you can't drive successfully without it.


  1. You are absolutely right! I have noticed that too many times we tend to steer the session rather than letting the writer decide. I am happy to say though that at the SLCC WC I have noticed tutors asking students what they would like to focus on next. I think that another thing that happens frequently is explaining oneself too much. Well, for lack of a better comparision its like beating a dead horse. I've seen tutors explain things beyond the point of comprehension, which takes time away from the needs of the student.


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