Showing posts from September, 2014

I’m going to be a tutor…

SLCC Student Writing Center My service-learning project for English 1810 (my mentoring writers class) is to engage students in one-to-one tutor/writer conversations at the SLCC Taylorville Campus Student Writing Center, in an effort to improve their (and my) writing process. The project mainly includes student writers seeking help in the writing center, but also the other tutors/instructors who I'll be working with. Together with student writers, I will discuss aspects of writing based on each student’s priorities for their individual writing assignments. These facets of writing ability may include: understanding instructions planning strategies determining content drafting and revising assignments defining purpose composing a thesis editing and proofing for errors (grammar and punctuation) writing concerns other than those listed Working with students on their various projects is a way to strengthen my own writing skills. I foresee th

The sci fi writer

As a fourth observation, I attended a tutoring session at the community writing center with one of our science fiction writers. The tutor was going over a preview of the story with the writer. The way that the tutor conducted the session was professional. What stood out excellently in my opinion is the tutor’s self confidence about the genre. Science fiction concepts are endless and too many, the tutor referred to a number of other book writers to find the answer to questions the writer was asking himself. Although, no direct answers were provided and the writer was given the chance to write his story about each concept. In addition, the tutor did a very good job in giving hints to the writer to guide him to the way he really wanted  to write and it was helpful especially when the tutor gave real examples of better known authors. Giving practical examples was a great way to remind the writer of the concepts  unlike just doing a free write or studying the genre. A further step to imp

My observation of the tutor I hope to be

My tutor observations have taught me a lot about myself and the type of tutor I'd like to be. Basically this is what I want when people come to see me, as their tutor. If I had to assess my progress. To have helped them as well as taught myself more as a writer.  I guess it will be a learning experience on the whole. To see the writer, and if the meeting with me has improved their own writing or paper as a whole and he/she is able to see for themselves where there would be some concerns this, to me at least, would be an achievement and one I'd take it with pride

The Animated Tutor

It was during this tutoring session that I realized how important it is to make eye contact and use the correct body language. The tutor I observed today didn’t just like to write and he wasn’t just a good writer, he was passionate about writing—passion radiated from him. From the moment he asked the writer, “So what are we working on today,” he had him hook line and sinker. The writer wanted to be there, wanted to be working on that essay and wanted to be learning about writing. The tutor looked directly at the student when he was talking about writing and used every kind of facial expression under the sun. He gestured smiling, gestured grimacing and gestured making whatever the emotion was that went along with his commentary. It was fun to watch such an animated display of passion and excitement during a conversation about writing a college assignment. The tutor’s style was what really engaged the writer in the process of writing. This particular tutor spent a good deal of time m

A Brief Consideration of Assistive Technology for Writers

If Professor Stephen Hawking rolled into your campus writing center asking for feedback on his latest manuscript, what would you do? A conversation with a classmate after English 1810 today has me wondering about that. I'm curious to know what the relationship is between our college's Student Writing Center  (SWC) and its Disability Resource Center (DRC), and whether it needs to be strengthened. Students who qualify under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act have a legal right to accommodations necessary for them to attend school and complete assignments. A student writer with dyslexia, for example, might need to use dictation software and might even have an accommodation allowing her to dictate her words to another person who would do the keyboarding or physical writing. In such a case, would a tutor in the SWC be given permission -- or even be legally obligated -- to do the typing for the student writer? Personally, I see nothing w

Twitter Fail Whale: Error Analysis

The year was 1965 and you young tykes may have missed out, but for us old fuddy-duddies, though, the robot in the TV series “Lost in Space” said it best, “This does not compute.” Things may have changed in the world of television sitcoms, but my guess is that writing now is still pretty much the same as writing then. Some of the best error messages of all time still seem appropriate to describe the error analysis process, at least for me. The higher-order concerns are behind us and now and it’s time in the tutoring session to move on to the later-order concerns. It’s time to actually read the paper. This is when I imagine I turn into the Twitter fail whale. You know the error message that appears when the Twitter service is too overloaded to work. The whale appears and the little Twitter birds carry him (her?) off into the distance. Something tells me they aren’t going to come to my rescue and I’ll need to determine if the writer has been careless, or if they don’t

World Suicide Prevention Day

Death is never the answer, only the ending When what should have happened a hand reached out in a way befriending Think about if you or I were in this ugly spot There was nobody there to put out the fire when things got too hot No friends, no family and nowhere to go This life can be miserable when the pain burns too slow Life is a mix of whatever happens to be in the pot When someone is down there needs to be someone to reach out their while theirs might naught Nothing will stand in the way if your heart is determined to do the right thing Into every life there needs to be joy and a reason to sing This is where it goes to the friends and family It is with we find in ourselves a reason to smile in our own simile There is no one that knows our heart quite like the family tree It is with them to share our hearts open and free Even though, we hear about Robin Williams and celebrities that die every day If there was something to preve


    Today in class we were asked to think about our writing process. For example, what is the structure you use to get towards that ever precious final draft? I guess if you asked me, I'd be the sequential reviser and doing it as I go. I reread and read again when I write just to make sure it makes sense to me, and spoken out loud as well on paper. I always do a final revision as well, but generally I revise as I go because all too often if the ideas are coming to fast I'll forget words or once in a while entire phrases.      I was thinking about how this might affect my own tutoring process? Hopefully, I could be someone open minded enough to let the writer do what they want to do and how they foresee their paper, while guiding along to make it even better than the person imagined.      As a writer, I'll be the first to admit I have many weaknesses, the first being grammar. Just one reason I didn't really feel overwhelmed to work in the Student Writing Center, but in

Reflection: The Role of the Tutor

I think the most important role the tutor can play is to really listen to the student and try to understand where they’re coming from with their writing. If you assume a student is going one direction when really they’re trying to go in a different direction neither of you will get anything out of working together. But by listening and allowing the student to talk, you’re also giving them the opportunity to be heard which is usually what writing is all about.  Another thing the tutor can do is ask questions that will help the student come to their own conclusions, while also sliding in subtle hints to improve the work without hijacking it. You have to remember this is their writing, not yours. It's easy to cross that line when you get caught up in the writing because you know the answer, but they will never learn anything if you just do it for them. They may need help coming up with the answers, but they should be the ones finding them.