University of Iowa, College of DuPage (English and Japanese)
I strive to help students reach the answer to questions through their own thoughts and analysis. Before I was employed at the College of DuPage Reading and Writing Center, I went through an eight-week training class that met three days a week. We learned writing center theory, analyzed sample writing and created our own work for review by fellow students. Every day we submitted responses to the course material, namely The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring by Paula Gillespie and Neal Lerner and The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood. The first text discussed tutoring techniques and shared stories from past tutors, while the second text contained articles by various tutors on theory and practice of tutoring in writing centers. Our instructor returned these responses with comments. From the body of work we read, I tended to favor a minimalist approach. A minimalist approach focuses on helping the student reach conclusions about their work on their own through leading questions and possibilities. If students require more help, I meet them where they are.
During three years of working at the College of DuPage Reading and Writing Center, I developed an approach where I strive to move my appointments forward from where they are, not where they should be. During my appointments, I identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses by engaging them with the text or problem. We read through the text or writing assignment. Afterward, we discuss points of interest and places where they found errors or had questions. In each situation, I try to make exploration a joint venture where learning why the mistake or problem occurred had as much importance as the correct answer.
For spelling related problems, I encourage students to utilize a dictionary and thesaurus. During an appointment, we might look up the word and try to create associations between the new word and the student’s existing vocabulary. In the case of grammatical errors, I might bring up a particular instance and then ask the student to look for other places were the same problem occurred. I review citations and grammar regularly.
In a reading appointment, I might ask the student to identity main ideas and unfamiliar vocabulary, and to make use of SQR3 (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review) to break down difficult passages. In the first stage, I engage in pre-reading with the student. I ask them to look at section and chapter headings then write down their thoughts and questions about the passages. We read these passages aloud, compare them with our questions and thoughts, and then record our answers. We go through the text again to clarify any remaining questions the students has. If there are discussion questions, we go through them beforehand, treating them like the student’s own thoughts.
I strive to help students reach the answer to questions through their own thoughts and analysis. Before I was employed at the College of DuPage Reading and Writing Center, I went through an eight-week training class that met three days a week. We learned writing center theory, analyzed sample writing and created our own work for review by fellow
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Reading should be an adventure. Whether it is a textbook or a novel, picking out key words and character details can be the same as finding buried treasure. I journey along with students through the text. I utilize SQ3R to help the student decode books and improve their ability to enjoy them.
I see writing as a journey. Every person is in a different and unique spot. Good writing comes from practice, a willingness to learn from past mistakes, a desire to improve both existing skills and cultivate new ones. These skills can be divided into two groups: higher order and lower order. Higher order pertains to subjects like organization, structure, and global coherence. Lower order skills focus on areas such as grammar, spelling and citation. Developing strong organization, structure, and logical skills give students a solid base to work from before dealing with issues like grammar or spelling. I endeavor to produce better writers who will enjoy the act of writing rather than seeing it as a task required of them for a class or a job.