Showing posts from June, 2014

Gender in the Writing Center: Male and Female Consultant Techniques in OWLs

Piqued by a passing thought as to if our training in the writing center can overcome our impulses, I set out to study if gender played a role in how OWLs were answered at Texas A&M’s University Writing Center. In the field of linguistics, it has been argued that males are more apt to use directive speech and females more apt to use nondirectives; this is largely related to women’s propensity to more polite speech. But, here we have training that being directive is largely not our first instinct as tutors. How did this interact with gender impulses?   I gathered 30 male and 30 female OWL responses submitted over a five-year period and constructed the following study to answer three research questions: 1.       Does gender affect the use of directives and nondirectives? 2.       Does gender affect the delivery technique of suggestions (politeness, evaluation, explanation, and options)? 3.       Do the strategies used in male and female speech also manifest in OWL respo

Teaching Revision with Digital Collation Software

There’s this collation tool online called Juxta . It allows you to compare two documents, and it highlights the differences between them in at least two ways. First, it shows both documents side by side, highlighting differences and drawing diagonal lines showing how pieces of the text have shifted. Second, it creates a heat map on just a single document, showing by lighter and darker shades of highlighting how different this document is from the other(s). Now, a tool like this is meant for scholars in literary and textual studies; for example, one who is interested in determining whether the edition of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass available through Google Books matches the copy in her local library. (Whitman was a compulsive reviser, and digital reproductions of pre-1900 texts are notoriously mismanaged. So this scholar could find some interesting results!) But I propose another use for collation software like Juxta: it can be used to learn about revision. Instead of comparing

More Creative Writing Solutions

           As mentioned in my previous blog, I teamed up with a fellow creative writer and tutor to explore ways to help fellow tutors consult on creative writing. We began the project this spring and presented our training session to our fellow tutors in October. In this blog, I will detail our presentation and results. In “Is There a Creative Writer in the House?” Wendy Bishop discusses the benefit of working with different types of writing. “By analyzing the styles of writing you encounter in the world you’ll become a more proficient brainstormer and adviser to your clients on the options available to them…. Then, put all these bits of advice in service of helping the writers you work with interrogate convention and experimentation as tandem parts of the writing process.” Essentially, we need all different types of writing and we can take many of the lessons we learn from one field to another. Our presentation focused on one main idea to help consultants tackle creative writing