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A Conversation about Discrimination in Tutorials: After the Inservice May 16, 2012

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This past Friday Elise N. and I hosted the last inservice of the 2011-2012 academic year, “A Conversation about Discrimination in Tutorials.” Our overall goal was to encourage conversation about our experiences with encountering discriminatory language and attitudes in tutorials, and we were very pleased with the amount of extensive conversation that arose. That said, both Elise and I knew that we would not be able to cover all the territory surrounding  discriminatory language/attitudes in tutorials within the hour and a half time limit, and we hope that this inservice sparks further conversation. A series of quotes, questions, readings, and “Looking back; Looking Forward” next steps are available for you to look over in the prezi Elise and I created. The next steps, which were collectively compiled by the inservice participants, were:

  • keep doin’ what you’re doin’!
  • consider our policies
  • flexibility
  • talk & respect (like we do)
  • consider applying same strategies to these instances of discriminatory language
  • continue our conversation

I’ve also included parts of our prezi in the slideshow above. Check it out! Tell us what you think! Keep the conversation going!

A Conversation about Discrimination in Tutorials on Prezi


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…)


Tutoring with Visual Rhetoric April 21, 2012

Last Friday my fellow Faculty Development and Research team members and I explored our artsy-fartsy sides with an inservice titled “Tutoring with Visual Rhetoric” in preparation for the First Year Writing Showcase (FYWS).  For those of you who don’t know what the FYWS is, let me offer a brief explanation. The FYWS honors the work students have done in their first year program classes such as first-year writing, liberal studies, quantitative reasoning, and focal point seminars. Over the past few weeks  interested students submitted their work to a panel of judges who are now in the process of selecting the most exceptional entries to display at the Showcase.

So, how does this affect you as a Writing Center Tutor? Chosen applicants are required to make an appointment with tutors to talk about converting their work into a visually appealing poster presentation, and you must be ready to help them! (more…)


Internships: Taking the Next Step April 17, 2012

Two weeks ago I started a new internship with a literary agency.  Writing and editing are my passions, and after working at the Writing Center for the past few months and at a small press in Wicker Park, I definitely felt ready for a more intensive internship.  Around Christmas, my boss at the small press job mentioned that her friend at another company was looking for interns, and after an interview and a lot of emails, I started work there.  I’ve had one in-house internship before and have, of course, worked on writing-based jobs before, but this was different. (more…)


ICW Tips for Tutors: Establishing Rapport April 10, 2012

Filed under: what do you think? — angelaames @ 14:35 pm
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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!


Towards a Linguistic “Glocalization”: A Geographic Approach to Writing Center Theory. April 5, 2012

In 1997, geographer Erik Swyngedouw challenged the way that scholars viewed globalization with the publication of “Neither Global nor Local: ‘Glocalization’ and the Politics of Scale.” The idea of the “glocal” continues to impact geographers’ perceptions of how scale operates, but how might this phenomena, which acknowledges the way that local and global landscapes impact and inform one another, help shape Peer Writing Tutors’ perceptions of global and local writing elements? I facilitated an interactive Round Robin Session at this years Chicagoland Writing Centers Association’s “Winter Gathering” conference to explore how we as Peer Writing Tutors might glocalize our approach to language, and the responses I received from the session were phenomenal! (more…)


ICW Tips for Tutors: Setting Objectives April 2, 2012

The In Class Workshop Team is all set to begin a new quarter, and we’re more eager than ever as we’ve added four new members to our team!  So, given that springtime is all about “new” things (three mentions already…), we’re trying out a new feature–ICW Tips for Tutors!  If you’re wondering about tactics to try during a tutorial, check our posts for ideas.  Even though we use these during workshops, they can still apply to one-on-one sessions.

During our first week of workshops, it’s always a good time for us to remind each other of how to start a workshop effectively.  An abrupt start can create an awkward rapport with writers, but a smooth start can really help create good vibes.  So, our tip for today is:  express your objectives clearly at the start of a session.  By being very clear about what you intend to accomplish, writers will know what’s expected of them, and they’ll understand why you’re going in a particular direction.

And while starting off with objectives matters, don’t forget to finish the session by reviewing your objectives.  This way, writers can physically see what you’ve accomplished with them, and you’ll end up reinforcing the most important parts of your tutorial.

Happy tutoring!