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
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.)
As a frightened freshman, I wandered deep in the bowels of the library basement. My eyes darted from room number to room number, looking for the aid my professor promised I could find. At the end of the hall, a golden light shone from an open doorway. My approach was slow and I lingered on the threshold. All uncertainty vanished when I was greeted with a smile and welcomed into the new world of the Tutoring Center. At the time, I did not know I would spend most of my weekdays in that room as a senior or how mundane this new world would become. How could I? I didn’t even know how much insight I would receive from my tutor that day! Being a learner in the writing center is a wholly different experience than being a tutor, yet I know many of my colleagues have not had the same learning experiences that I have. I think this is unfortunate because there is much that a tutor can gain from being a learner. It was my freshman year of college and everything was new. For me, that meant that fear
So, I was driving to school today and as always was listening to NPR (that's my self-promoting conversational piece informing you on how intelligent and connected I am) really, I just like the coverage on the campaign and "This American Life." Okay, I am already getting off topic and I haven't even gotten on topic yet. Anyhow, the story I was listening to was about a woman who used to be a part of the admissions committee at Dartmouth and is now working as an independent consultant helping students with the admissions process for schools. For a cool $40,000, she will work with you from 9th grade to graduation to help prepare you for your college admissions process. And for the budget price of $14,000, she will help you write and revise your college application essay. So, how in the world does this correlate to our world? Well, her work with college applications includes helping students decide on effective topics (staying away from "teen angst, or