While observing in the Writing Center, I have been lucky enough to come across a session tutored by another student, like myself, and a session administered by an actual professor at Columbia College Chicago. The differences in their methods were striking and interesting. I was clued in to how to relate to the student in different ways, and how each method proves to be successful.
The session with the professor began with the exchange of jokes and anecdotes, with the professor doing most of the talking. As he warmed the tutee up to the session, she became more open, and even began to laugh along and input jokes of her own into the exchange. Although I felt slightly uncomfortable, an outsider on this friendly happenstance, I could sense the mood change. As the two dived into the paper, the sort of joking mood continued. I noticed the tutee sort of forget her anxiety about the paper, and was comfortable enough to begin to "direct" the session. The tutee left that day with a sense of accomplishment and a smile on her face.
After observing the session between the professor and the tutee, a session with a "student tutor" was a stark contrast. The tutee came in and the student tutor greeted him with a cool effortlessness, as is associated with a college student. The two communicated in a way that I could relate to the way I talked with my friends. It was a family method of communication. I believe it helped the tutee feel as if he was among friends, and that there was less pressure to be "perfect" while working on his paper. The tutor gave the tutee plenty of time to work out his own problems (with her guidance, of course) and gain confidence on his own accord.
Although each session and tutee is different and has different needs, different methods of communication can be equally successful. By trying them all, one can discover the method that best suits them and their tutees. In the future, I hope to be relatable, yet retain professionalism.
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I have posted a poll in the IWCA forums: IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll! It is a part of an earlier discussion that kind of petered out about the titles used for writing center workers. Please take a moment and vote! If you don't have an account on the forum, you can register for one by clicking on the "Register" link (next to the rocket icon in the top-right of the page.) Don't forget to state your institutional affiliation when you request and account. (That's how the IWCA Forum keeps out spam accounts.)
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