PeerCentered Meet the Author Discussion for Spring 2014
"Students are frequently asked to engage in peer review and response activities in writing classrooms across the curriculum. But how can, and why should, teachers make peer response a major part of their pedagogy that really works well for their students and themselves? Peer Pressure, Peer Power delivers original essays that engage tough pedagogical questions from authors who resist easy answers. This collection includes essays that examine the nature of peer response in theory and in practice from scholars representing composition-rhetoric, writing center, and WAC/WID programs across the country. The book provides new and experienced teaching assistants and instructors, WPAs, writing center personnel, WAC personnel, and service learning personnel with both a theoretical and practical resource for peer response in writing classrooms. But the authors in this collection go a pedagogical step or two further in the direction of peer tutoring: they map several interconnections between classroom and writing center and other peer tutoring theories and practices, showing the ways that a deeper understanding of peer response can help teachers and tutors provide better feedback to students' writing; they suggest the connections between peer response and designing effective writing assignments and rubrics, touching on how important student input really is in all phases of our pedagogy; they bring the value of teaching and learning with student texts to vivid life; and they illustrate specific ways that classrooms and one-to-one and small-group conferences can become highly interactive, synergistic sites for the teaching and learning of writing. "
'“Organizing for Antiracism in Writing Centers: Principles for Enacting Social Change” defines organizing and answers the question of whether we in writing centers should do this work by showing how we already are. We identify guiding principles consistent with the aims of antiracism as well as the collaborative and dialogic pedagogies of writing centers. Drawing on cross-disciplinary research, we articulate three frameworks for organizing: (1) direct action organizing (Bobo, Kendall, and Max, 2001); (2) a balance of strategies and tactics (Alinsky, 1945; Mathieu, 2005); and (3) a dialectic approach (Papa, Singhal, and Papa, 2006). We find the most potential in this third approach, one we see aligned with current research on both writing centers and community organizing and so we focus our discussion here. Finally, to put the principles into action, we analyze an extended case study of our efforts of organizing in professional associations and invite readers to participate in similar analyses on their own local organizing efforts. Here we add participatory action research (Fine and Torre, 2006; Greenwood and Levin, 2006; Sohng, 1995; Weis and Fine, 2004) as a method aligned with dialectic organizing to suggest a future direction for assessing our organizing efforts. Participatory action research (PAR), like dialectic organizing, promotes ongoing reflection, horizontal relationship-building, and democratic participation, thereby providing the means for antiracism work within one-with-one writing conferences and shared leadership of writing centers.
For this discussion, we hope to discuss the dialectic tensions inherent in organizing and how these play out in writing centers. We’d like to hear from participants how this chapter—or other work on organizing—has influenced your work on and off campuses, in local writing centers, in professional associations, and across other contexts. And we’d like to dig into the racial/ized dynamics of access and involvement in organizing in higher education. Toward this end, we imagine posing and taking up “wicked questions” that help us reflect on and intervene into everyday ways of being and doing.'
Beth Godbee is Assistant Professor at Marquette University, where she studies how collaborative writing talk (and the relationship-building, writing, revision, and rethinking involved in that talk) brings about social change, or more equitable relations, for individuals and members of their social networks.
Moira Ozias is the Associate Director of the OU Writing Center at the University of Oklahoma, where she is also working on a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Her research interests include peer learning and collaboration, community literacies, community-university partnerships, and the intersections of critical race and writing center studies.