What do they need? Did I help? Did I give too much? Tutors often spin out with these questions and doubt themselves because there is much confusion on how to best help students or what qualities make a good tutor. Effective tutors possess empathy for tutees, focus on writers versus papers, model positive behaviors, and foster growth in students.
In order to sense and understand what students need, tutors must first empathize with their tutees. By doing this, tutors can better understand what state of mind their tutees are in, and this allows assessment of what approach may be most beneficial. On a daily basis, anxiety, lack of confidence, and the complete shutdown of the overwhelmed brain enter our center. There are many reasons students that feel these ways. They may be experiencing problems outside of school. They may believe that they are bad writers because of the red pen culture that is so associated with education. Regardless of the reasons, tutors must first acknowledge these negative emotions and create an environment of comfort, which aids in neutralizing these. This can be as simple as using “I” statements, such as, “I hear you are frustrated,” or “I understand you are tired.” Once students are at ease, they may drop the fight and be more receptive to help.
Tutors are humans who interact with other humans, not grammar machines who correct papers. So often, tutoring sessions are viewed as tasks to be completed instead of writers to be aided because the paper becomes the focus. Setting an intent to help the writer grow will change what is taught in the session. A worthwhile aspiration is to teach students that mistakes are a part of learning. Using examples such as Thomas Edison or the Wright Brothers, who failed many times before success, frequently conveys this point, leaving students inspired. Also, tutors should see content before mechanics because what students have to say is far more important than how they say it.
Tutors must remember that they are modeling behaviors for their students. If tutors are anxious, focus on perfecting mechanics over content, or any of the plethora of negative writing habits that exist, then students are likely to learn these behaviors. Remaining calm and gracefully conducting sessions shows students that writing does not have to be stressful. Listening fully to paragraphs before jumping in with corrections teaches writers to complete their thoughts versus second guessing themselves to the point of paralysis. Students respect and admire educators; therefore, tutors must set good examples.
Students are writers in the process of growth. Being flexible and willing to make changes is a vital lesson for tutees to learn. The most important misconception that tutors debunk is that writing is a linear process with a clear finish line. Instead, it is a cyclical procedure that visits and revisits steps such as prewriting, drafting, and revising. In sessions where deficits in this process are noticed, tutors can choose to teach students practical methods such as brainstorming, outlining, and allowing the paper to settle before revising. If the true desire of tutors is to help students become better writers, then they will teach them how to do this versus doing it for the tutees.
Writing is often viewed as an innate talent that people either have or do not have. Because of this, many students believe that they are bad writers when they merely need practice and education. Tutors who empathize with their students, focus on tutees before their work, model positive behaviors, and foster growth in writers are essential to the education community. Tutors are given a precious gift; each day tutors have the opportunity to support students as they learn to navigate the twists and turns that ultimately lead to adventure in this beautiful, fascinating world, known as composition.
Popular posts from this blog
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.)
Dear me… As a junior in college, you were just trying your best and going through the motions (like everyone else) . You wanted to fit in and emulate what you thought a typical college student should look like. Then, along came the opportunity to become a w riting c onsultant. That’s immediately when the fear started, I began questioning myself and my own personal writing. I was unsure how I, a typical college student, would have enough skills to help others. How would I manage being insecure with myself when I was supposed to be someone my peers looked to find their own confidence? When it came to your first day of work, you were sitting in the writing lab waiting for your learner to show up with anxiety pouring out of your body. It was probably the most anxious you ever got in your life - aside from applying to college in the first place. You were so excited to meet your colleagues, yet so nervous that you were going to disappoint them. Thoughts streamed through your head
Testing Online Tutoring Online tutoring may be a constant of the tutoring landscape, but the question of effectiveness remains. Which organizations are best prepared to meet the needs of students: writing centers affiliated with universities or “professional” tutoring agencies, such as Pearson-Smarthinking? It is this question I intend to address in conducting a proposed experiment. Important Background Information The concept most central to this proposed experiment is that of knowledge claims. In his book Reformers, Teachers, Writers: Curricular and Pedagogical Inquiries , Neal Lerner identifies the three primary types of knowledge claims that appear in a writing center: “writerly knowledge,” “emotional knowledge,” and “role knowledge” (Lerner 115). “Role knowledge” is arguably the most important knowledge claim (Lerner 115). While analyzing transcripts of student sessions, Lerner noticed there was a correlation between the presence of “role knowledge” claims and the “success”