Skip to main content
Hello fellow consultants and tutors!

Having been a Writing Centre student consultant for 3 years at AUK, it surprises me that there are many techniques and skills that I can still learn in order to become a better consultant. Having read the material provided to student consultants by the Writing Centre staff members as part of our training, I chose to highlight upon the importance of nonverbal communication. Jennifer Arnold's piece of writing enabled me to stop and think about my body language during appointments with students. Arnold mentions the negative message that crossing arms communicates to the student by stating that crossing arms "is a defensive gesture...feeling defensive is extremely unpleasant." I realized that I often sit with my arms crossed when the students I am consulting are doing the talking or reading their work. Although it is tempting to cross my arms since they are left unoccupied while I am not talking, it communicates the wrong message to the student. I may not only seem defensive, but I may look also look bored and disinterested.I conducted a small experiment by deliberately crossing my arms during one half of a session then uncrossing them for the other half. I immediately realized that the student became more engaged while my arms were not crossed. Therefore, this concludes that if the consultant looks bored, the student too will be bored. If the consultant looks interested, the student too will be interested in the session.

I hope this insight helps all those who want to master the art of consultancy!


Maria Bedrossian


Popular posts from this blog

Enough with the Prosti----- already

While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the ideas we threw around in class the other day, I can honestly say, now, that I am beginning to move away from the metaphor. While I once connected prostitution and the writing center through their brief meetings and levels of intimacy, I now question the nature of those meetings and the levels of intimacy available, and like David said in class, I agree that the comparison is a stretch. Here’s where I struggle with a connection between meeting a stranger, a prostitute, for sex, and meeting a consultant at the writing center. Although the ‘client,’ ‘student,’ or whatever, meets with a stranger for a limited period time to meet a specific desire, the level of intimacy between sex with a prostitute and a writing consultation differs. It is my experience that consultations between peers can be genuinely intimate as one discusses personal thoughts—there i…

IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll!

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.)