UCWbLing

writing. thinking. collaborating. teaching. learning. blogging…

Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Poetry Tutorials May 8, 2012

“I want to look at a poem I’ve been working on.”  My writer uttered these words at the beginning of a tutorial last week, and the phrase filled me with fear and anxiety immediately.  I am an English student, to be sure, and maybe that’s why she chose to make an appointment with me – but I study English literature!  I don’t write short stories or poems, I don’t workshop, and the whole business of creative writing remains mysterious and somewhat awe-inspiring to me.  I’ve heard of “those that don’t write, teach,” but when you’ve been writing mostly blog posts and the odd formalist analysis of a 19th century novel, it’s hard to know what to say.  I wondered what I could possibly offer this student, but to my surprise, I found plenty to say (as did she).  The appointment was fun, informative, and refreshingly relaxed.  As a writer (and not a poet) I may not have had much to offer, but as an engaged reader, I was able to offer insights to this struggling writer. (more…)

 

When to Judge: on Evaluation in Tutorials April 24, 2012

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…)