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.)
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”