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Showing posts from 2018

What I Know Now About My Practicum Experience

Where It All Began While becoming a Consultant at the UW-Stevens Point Writing Lab, I first had to pass the practicum class, Education 301. The ideas discussed and the theories learned in this class are beyond practical for day-to-day involvement with my peers. Allow me to share with you some of my favorite ideas about being a Writing Lab Consultant and what I have learned throughout my practicum experience. I hope after reading this you will find the same motivation I have when working in our Writing Lab. How to Play Psychological Ping Pong Having many memories from class, one of the most intriguing class discussions was prompted after reading the article “Peer Tutoring and the Conversation of Mankind” by Kenneth Bruffee. Bruffee invites his readers to discuss the benefits of peer-to-peer engagement. After reflecting on the things I have learned throughout my time at the Writing Lab, I have come to understand Bruffee’s view firsthand.  At the Writing Lab, you are able to express your id…

How do you work with English Language Learners as a Native-English speaker? Think about it.

Working with ELLs can be challenging and exciting due to the differences in culture, language, and background. Another aspect that comes into play when working with ELLs is the differences in our ways of thinking. I’m not necessarily referring to cultural differences or indirect versus direct communication; I mean things such as differences is cognitive direction and phrases that are not translatable but are extremely functional to each respective language. This is where being able to describe the way we think of phrasings, sentence structure, the functionality of grammar, and word choice come into play. I had a student from South Korea come in one day to work on his Economics paper. We came across mistakes that could be considered “common” amongst ELLs such as article usage and verb tenses, but there was a sentence where he had a phrase along the lines of “make in grander scale” rather than “to put on a grander scale.” For a moment, I hesitated and contemplated how to explain why thi…

Revisiting the Role of Vulnerability in the Writing Lab

As I have taken time before I graduate to reflect back on the past year in my role as a writing lab consultant, it becomes clear that one thing has remained a constant: vulnerability is unavoidable.  I first became interested in this topic during the training course for working in the writing lab.  My knee-jerk reaction to the mere mention of the word made me want to run screaming in the opposite direction.  Showing off my vulnerability to someone else in my life was a terrifying concept.  But, as I did more research on the topic, I became engrossed in finding a way to live my life in this way—being comfortable with being uncomfortable. 
I finished up my first semester as a writing lab consultant and I was ready to fully embrace being vulnerable. I bought the books, did the research, and preached the concepts to any friends that would listen.  I had given an informative speech on it in my writing lab training course, opening myself up and relating it to small parts of my life. It felt…

Once Upon a Time, There Was a Rapid-fire Client and a Confused Consultant...

As tutors, we want to do our best to help other students improve their writing. And normally, we expect a client to come in with one piece of writing they want to focus on – but what do you do if they have too many? I once had a client that initially told me she wanted to work on a short story for her creative writing class. Since I didn’t see creative writing come through very often, I was excited to help her with her story. Until, that is, three paragraphs into reading it together, she stopped reading and pulled up an unfinished poem. I was a little confused at first, but allowed her to explain what the poem was about, and just as I asked her what she wanted help with, she pulled up yet another poem. This continued a few times before I realized she was just pitching story ideas to me and we weren’t actually talking about her writing. She seemed so excited, and I wanted to help her with whatever she needed help with, but it’s hard to help when the writing in question keeps changing. …

Confidence is Key

As a student manager of the writing center, I assist in leading training meetings. At the beginning of the year, I had to run a quick errand as the meeting started. By myself, I couldn’t stop thinking about standing before all my peers, especially without the support from the prior year’s managers. The concept of having forty-some eyes on me was so nerve-wracking that my hands shook. When I joined the other managers at the front of the room, speaking clearly and confidently, I calmed down, proving to myself that I was capable.

Peer tutoring fosters growth, and not just for those being tutored.

I’ve been friendly but shy my whole life, making few friends and keeping my head down. I came into the writing center as that person, quiet and insecure. Part of the writing center training was how to interact with the client, how to ask questions instead of answering, minimalist versus directive consulting, the delicate ratio of listening and speaking. However, the real training was the on-the…