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My Professor asked the question, "What role does the tutor play in helping the student learn about her writing?" One role is to act as a guide, the definition of which is (according to Webster’s Dictionary) is “one that leads or directs another’s way; a person who explains points of interest.” As a verb it means “to give advice and instruction to (someone) regarding the course or process to be followed.” I like those definitions. A tutor suggests courses of action to follow and lets the writer make the choice. We can do that by asking them what they think they should do instead of giving them the answers to their questions every time, let them hold something to write with so they can make notes about their thoughts, point out what they’re doing right, give honest advice, ask clarifying or probing questions to get them to think about their writing. Those are some suggestions. I’m sure there are more. The idea is that guidance gives the writer enough room to think for himself or herself without feeling like they’re being told what to do or how to think (like how it is in class sometimes). They know more than they think they know, they just don’t know they know it. 
It’s all easier said than done. If writing was a hike, what if the writer wanted to focus on the grass instead of moving forward up the mountain? What if they don’t move? What if they don’t want to participate and expect the tutor to make the hike for them or carry them? What if they don’t know the terrain well enough to understand the guidance we’re giving because they don’t speak the language? I think as long as we do our best to help with what we know at the time, that’s all that matters.


  1. I like how you defined what a tutor is and what a tutor should do in order to succeed as a tutor. I appreciate your approach and its relation to how we can improve our tutorship skills.

  2. I'm liking all the analogies we're coming up with. I think the guide analogy works on a subtle level, in that it implies that the guide is invested in the journey too. Guides may or may not know exactly where they are at in the woods, for example. If he doesn't know where they are at, an experienced guide knows methods or practices that will find his way out of the woods. Imparting those skills, methods, or practices to the others on the journey is where we may part ways with the analogy, but any guide worth his salt is going to help neophytes learn how to find their way out of a bad situation, mostly because he won't want to go out looking for them when they get lost.


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