This week in the writing center, I had the pleasure of observing some sessions. I come with one question: Is it okay to be very directive to a student if the student really does not understand? In reading much writing center theory, we learned that we should never be directive. We must provoke an answer or thought out of a student through questioning alone.
Now what if the student really does not understand? You could just keep asking the same question until he or she understands, but what good does that do? I think that some students really just need a push in the right direction. Does that make being directive acceptable? We do not want to make the student's paper our own. This defeats the purpose of the writing center and tutoring.
To answer my own question, I think in some situations, a student should be directed. I can think of times when someone asks me a question and I simply do not have an answer. I understand the question, but I just can't think of an answer no matter how hard I try. I think we need to accomodate for situations like those. So if a student truly does not understand how to write his or her paper, direction is necessary from the tutor.
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