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My Tutoring Philosophy for Student Writers

As a writing center tutor in a university, I work primarily with student writers enrolled in introductory courses, often “basic” writers. I learned from both readings and actual tutoring experiences that these students, native speakers of English and ESL students alike, struggle with writing as they transition into university-level academic discourse. Therefore, writing assignments often are, in addition to assessments of students’ knowledge of course materials, also composition exercises that help students practice writing in a new way. As a result, contrary to what I had believed before taking this class, the process of writing – not the product – is more important to many students in their growth as writers, as they learn to voice their opinions in a way appropriate to an academic audience. Therefore, my goal as a writing center tutor is to help students with a writer-oriented approach that combines both directive and collaborative methods. To help basic writers mature,... read more

Toward a Holistic Tutoring Practice: Teaching Reading and Critical Thinking in the Writing Center

Introduction As a tutor at the writing center, I often work with students whose writings reflect flawed reasoning or insufficient understanding of the assigned reading. As a result, I find myself conversing with students about the arguments they try to express in the writing, not the technicalities such as grammar or sentence structure. One problem I consistently see when working with students like these is their inability to critically read and assess their own writing – they often think they have presented a well-argued case when in reality there are still many flaws. Motivated by the desire to help students critically assess their own writing, I set out to explore how writing center tutors can teach and encourage students to develop skills that enable them to treat their own writing on a higher intellectual level. I found from my research that there is a strong, positive correlation between one’s writing skills and one’s ability to read and think critically. Therefore,... read more

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