Why, hello! Welcome to my profile! This is indeed your lucky day, sir or madam, because you've come across the profile of someone who adores tutoring blossoming writers.
I am a third-year student at DePaul University pursuing a degree (and soon a career) in journalism
. I am also studying history
and enjoy running, the outdoors, and traveling. In my time at DePaul I've become a proud member of the University Center for Writing
-based Learning (or UCWbL for short) staff. In my role at the UCWbL, I help undergrad, graduate, adult, and English
as a second language
) students realize their potential as capable, effective writers. Our philosophy
at the UCWbL is that everyone is a writer, and that stands true in my approach to every appointment. Please see the bottom of this description for a copy of my "official" tutoring strategy I developed whilst working at the UCWbL.
In addition to working at the UCWbL, I have a diversified writing profile. I am a staff writer for the DePaul student newspaper, The DePaulia, and have a blog that I regularly publish. This past year one of my stories for the DePaulia was awarded by the Illinois Collegiate Press Association, and I was also chosen to present my work at the 10th Annual DePaul Student History Conference. I am also a proud member of the DePaul University Honors program and carry a 4.0 GPA.
Overall I am flexible and work by the student's goals. I firmly believe that writers are in charge of their own improvement and it is my job as a tutor to guide them towards success and then use those successes as working examples for more successes, and so on. I have a bicycle that makes me fairly adaptable to the time and place of the tutoring session, and I am also flexible as to the medium of appointments.
Overall I am excited to meet you and start working towards your goal to become a better writer, student, and communicator!
Megan's Official Philosophy!
An Intro to Tutoring: Minimalist vs. Directive
In the writing center community, there are two general frameworks for tutoring. As Tom Truesdell claimed in his article “Not Choosing Sides, Using (Non) Directive Methodology in a Writing Session,” tutors must be flexible in choosing which strategy they use with each writer. Tutors not only have to navigate their dual role as a tutor and as a peer, but also, tutors have to constantly adjust to the writer and maintain a balance between minimalist and directive tutoring. Minimalism has its advantages because it places ownership of the writing into the writer’s hands; tutors facilitate the appointment by asking open-ended questions and encouraging the writer to solve issues by themselves. Minimalist’s opposite, directive tutoring, uses statements rather than questions to guide the writer in a certain direction. Directive tutors pull from their own experiences to tell the writer what, where, why and how their writing can be improved. I approach each appointment from a minimalist's perspective, but can incorporate --and have used-- directive strategies when necessary.
Walking in a Student's Shoes
The phrase "walk in their shoes" conveys empathy and understanding, but comes from a removed, outside perspective. Part of being a peer tutor is understanding first hand the challenges of writing in the same context. Every piece of writing exists in some context, and it's my job as a peer writing tutor to understand where the writer is coming from to write the paper. I take time in the beginning of each appointment to familiarize myself with not only the writer and the assignment, but also the writer's feelings about the subject and what their motivation is for the assignment. This helps me to relate to the writer and ease the formality of the appointment. That way, my feedback comes from a relaxed atmosphere and is easier to receive.
Give the Writer Options
“Begin where the student is and move where the student moves," are the wise words of writing center celebrity, Stephen North. The difference between helping writers write a better paper and helping writers become better writers is empowering the writer in each appointment. In my appointments, I give the writer absolute control over the agenda to emphasize that they are the writer and I am merely the support. This practice affirms that their success and growth is attributed to them, giving them confidence to apply their improved writing skills to all other writing and disciplines.
While examples are profoundly helpful for understanding concepts, in writing I believe there is no better example than a writer's own examples. Often, writers don't realize what they do well. Rather, they are focused on the faults of their writing. I've found that pointing out what writers do well and then --this is crucial-- explaining why what they've done is effective, eases the anxiety of writing. Positive reinforcement also gives a writer the confidence to continue addressing challenges in their writing because they see that they are capable of good writing.