PeerCentered is a space for peer writing tutors/consultants or anyone interested in collaborative learning in writing centers to blog with their colleagues from around the world. Bloggers here will share their ideas, experiences, or insight. To contribute to the blog, please contact Clint.Gardner@slcc.edu.
After having multiple sessions throughout this semester, I
have noticed that each of the students I see have different levels of
confidence. I thought to myself, “What could possibly be the reasoning for it?
Could outside factors be the cause?” The class I am assigned to is very
diverse. With some students from other countries or backgrounds, they tend to have
a tougher time than those who are familiar with English.
International students may have difficulty learning the
rules of academic English. Having to struggle with academic English and keeping
up with class assignments, especially at the college level, is not easy.
Assignments themselves can be difficult or new to the student and that may
lower their confidence. For example, I had a student who had never completed a
research paper before. I asked her what she found was most difficult for her to
accomplish the paper. Her response was the pressure of making sure the format
and APA style was correct, as well as using only third person. When knowing
that there is a grade to come from a paper, making sure the paper is perfect can
cause writers anxiety and more mistakes. Without having pressure on the student
to exceed expectations, it affects the student’s confidence to have a strong
paper and their own skills.
On the flip side, there was another student who had no
problem writing the same assignment. Instead the opposite happened. Few
questions were asked when we were both going over her paper. I then asked her a
question about the paper to see if she saw the need to improve any specific area
of her paper. I did not imply that there was, but she was confident that her
paper was just fine, leaving nothing left for me to do, but compliment her on
As a writing fellow, it may be help to alleviate any tension
the student has in order write their paper to their best capability and build
their confidence. I was thinking about my own level of confidence in my work and
wondered to myself. Do you believe that a tutor’s confidence brushes off onto
While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the ideas we threw around in class the other day, I can honestly say, now, that I am beginning to move away from the metaphor. While I once connected prostitution and the writing center through their brief meetings and levels of intimacy, I now question the nature of those meetings and the levels of intimacy available, and like David said in class, I agree that the comparison is a stretch. Here’s where I struggle with a connection between meeting a stranger, a prostitute, for sex, and meeting a consultant at the writing center. Although the ‘client,’ ‘student,’ or whatever, meets with a stranger for a limited period time to meet a specific desire, the level of intimacy between sex with a prostitute and a writing consultation differs. It is my experience that consultations between peers can be genuinely intimate as one discusses personal thoughts—there i…
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.)