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.
I'm a tutor. How can I help you?
Upon entering you could assume that you have entered into a
library. In the large classroom size room there are shelves with books along
one wall. There is one wall with many large windows and a long table with
computers are at the bottom of the windows. Comfy chairs occupy the corners and
in the middle of the floor are several tables. The Salt Lake Community College,
Student Writing Center is a very open and welcoming place. For my semester
project I have chosen to work in this writing center.
first day has come and gone and I admit, I was nervous but having observed
several sessions it wasn’t too overwhelming. In the hour that I was scheduled,
there was an abundance of staff and the writing center was slow. I didn’t get
to tutor that day but I need to do 15 hours and so I’m sure that I will get my
chance. I took the slowness to re- think about the observations I did and what
I wanted to do and how I wanted to do things differently.
of my observation sessions I was able to see two very opposite sessions happening at the same time. Two friends walked
into the SWC (student writing center) and the first one received a tutor that
was interested in them the moment they sat down. The second had to get their
tutor’s attention by another staff member. The tutor didn’t even close their own
shocked that the second tutor immediately, upon receiving the student’s paper,
wrote all over it and changed almost everything on the first page.
checked on the first student I noticed their session was very happy. They were
laughing and sharing the student’s paper. The tutor was very engaged in the
work they were there to do. The second tutor was very quiet and the student sat
across from them, wringing their hands. I realized then that no tutors are alike and that I want to be very
involved with the student’s work and with the student. They are coming in for
help and if I just take over, do it for them or make them feel uncomfortable--
they won’t want to come back again. When the two student's left one was smiling and very happy. Student number two looked like they would never return.
Overall, I am very excited for the work
that we do in helping the student’s and I am glad to have this opportunity.
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.)
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
I remember my first year as a peer tutor at my high school’s writing center. I could not have been more than fifteen years old when I went to my very first orientation session. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I was enthusiastic to learn. That year, the managers of my center were very excited to tell us all about something called minimalist theory. Minimalist theory is a consulting style that focuses on getting students to think for themselves. I won’t go too much in depth here, but if you want to know more I wrote a different article on the subject called “Minimalist Theory: When and When not to Use it.” The managers pushed this theory pretty hard, undoubtably because they wanted us to focus on practicing it. However, in doing so I, as an itty-bitty baby consultant, internalized the message that minimalist theory was the only way to teach writing. This was a problem for a number of reasons but the main one is that minimalism is most certainly NOT th