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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 ideas/thoughts with one another, bouncing new information back and forth, as if playing psychological ping pong. By playing this game of ‘psychological ping pong,’ you are able to share knowledge unknown with one another. The conversations we have with our peers hold deeper benefits than we see on the surface. I look forward to hearing from my learner because I know that person holds a piece of information that I may not have. Bruffee’s article made me realize this idea. Overall, my practicum experience has brought this into fruition.
The Classroom Experience Everyone Needs
My experience as a practicum student in Education 301 has helped me more than I can fathom. It’s the type of class that places you in an environment to interact with your peers—and by interacting I mean engaging in daily discussions. As a senior in college now, I find this classroom environment less common than I first thought. Compared to other college courses, it helped me realize how important it is to have this engagement with your peers. Instead of sitting in a class and not participating, my practicum experience has challenged me to speak up and provide input; through that I have learned more about myself as a student. Furthermore, by engaging in class discussion, you are reaping the benefits of your education.
Class Participation is a “Life-Hack” to Better Education
One thing I noticed about Education 301 is the participation it requires. It has led me to understand how engaging in a class not only sparks creativity but develops you as a person. Whether your take on the subject might seem fit or not, actively participating forces you to think critically. I don’t simply mean speaking up in class, but interacting with your peers makes for an overall better educational experience.
Beneficial For Both You and Your Peer
I found this same experience when meeting with new learners in the writing lab, many of whom I wouldn’t have the chance to meet if it wasn’t for my job at the Writing Lab. Only a few weeks ago I had a Dance Major looking for help on a paper. Since I am highly incompetent when it comes to the dance discourse, I was able to provide her with the knowledge I had about English grammar while she cued me an explanation for dance terminology. I now know that the word amalgamation means a combination of two or more dance patterns or movements. I cherish the fact that a similar opportunity presents itself every day I work in the writing lab. Moreover, engaging in discussion with your peers is beneficial for both you and your peer.
Participation in Education 301 and working in the Writing Lab has developed my sense of personal responsibility in the fact that I now look for ways to break out of my own bubble and take part in a much larger campus community. I actively invest myself to learn from my peers and broaden my knowledge. I hope reading this will help you reflect on your own experience as a tutor and provide the same motivation with what you now know.