I try not to be too evaluative in my tutorials (or even my Written Feedback). Of course, there’s always a time to reassure the writer that they’re on the right track, or that some turn of phrase is well done and should be retained, even exploited or learned from. There’s also the awareness, though, that placing a value judgment or (heaven forbid) a letter grade on someone else’s work isn’t my job. For one thing, what if the professor disagrees with me and I’ve now misled the student into thinking their work is one thing, when it’s really being graded as another? Far more importantly: did the writer come in for a pat on the head, or for constructive criticism and help? (more…)
ICW Tips for Tutors: Establishing Rapport April 10, 2012
No matter how comfortable you are talking to people you’ve never met, sometimes standing up in the classroom in front of completely foreign faces can be daunting. I’m sure everyone on the in-class workshop team has felt this tremor of nerves at the beginning of a workshop, even those of us who have months or even years of teaching experience under our belts. There’s a room of blank faces staring at you, and your mind starts to race: How will they respond to me? What if I can’t get anyone to answer my questions?
Maybe some of you have even experienced this in tutorials. I know I have. Sometimes you get that writer who just doesn’t want to talk. You’re sure they have questions, or at the very least, answers to yours, but how do you get it out of them? The answer is the same for me whether I’m faced with a shy writer or an eerily quiet classroom, and it’s this week’s ICW tip for tutors: always remember to establish rapport!
Regardless of the size of your audience, when there is resistance, it’s hard to get any of those learning/tutorial objectives completed without first warming up the audience. In every workshop, I make sure to give myself 30 seconds minimum to introduce myself and my colleague. In our rush to get to the workshop, or in the case of tutorials, we don’t always take the time for these ice-breakers. So in your next tutorial, remember to take a few minutes to get to know the writer before diving right into your work. It’s a little thing that can make a big difference!
Relishing the Repeating Appointment February 21, 2012
As a first-time writing tutor last term, I had new experiences and new lessons to learn almost every week. When Winter Quarter came around, I thought I was well-versed in most types of appointments but thankfully this term has afforded something completely new – a repeating appointment. While I enjoy all of my appointments and like helping all sorts of writers, the repeating appointment is a special opportunity to get to know someone (and their writing) more in-depth. (more…)
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the latest episode of The Breakroom on the UCWbL’s youtube page. This video depicts and discusses the importance of building rapport with writers during conferences, a practice that can be easily overlooked when a tutor or fellow is eager to ‘set the agenda’ and get to the task at hand. (more…)