Archive for the ‘Pedagogy’ Category



Tutoring Approach

A non-directive tutoring approach helps a student improve his writing skills than a directive tutoring approach. A tutor who uses a directive approach establishes himself as a credible resource by clearly stating how to fix the flaws in a paper, but this approach rarely provides the student with a method to tackle the next paper. A directive approach often generates a sense of dependency between the tutor and the student, which creates problems regarding academic honesty.

Tutoring sessions using a non-directive approach (also known as the minimalist approach) can be time-consuming and challenging since the success of this approach mainly focuses on a grueling question-and-answer session. Because the success of this approach also relies heavily on the student developing her writing skills while simultaneously improving her writing, the student is often frustrated and leaves the session without a feeling of closure. With these facts in mind, a non-directive approach is certainly more difficult than that of a directive approach. However, the former approach is more rewarding because it transforms a struggling writer into an independent one. The rapport and conversations between tutor and student in such a session revolve around changing a dependent, frustrated, or unmotivated writer into a more confident writer who demonstrates an improvement in his writing skills.

Since a non-directive approach is more effective, questions should be a priority in the session. Questions asked by peer writing tutors during a tutoring session are multipurpose. According to Hunkins (1989) in Teaching Thinking through Effective Questioning, questions develop problem-solving strategies, and they trigger reflective thinking. They motivate a student to participate, and they focus a student’s attention. An exchange of questions and answers can build rapport when the tutor incorporates the student’s response to elaborate a point or further the line of inquiry because the reaction validates his contribution (Hunkins, 1989, p. 214).

Tutoring Questions

The questions posed during a tutoring session should result in what Bruffee (1984) calls a “kind of social context in which normal discourse occurs: a community of knowledgeable peers” so student writing appears natural and unencumbered (p. 644). Boquet’s Noise from the Writing Center (2002) proposes a potential structure for a tutoring session that contains spontaneous, innovative energy but still addresses the paper’s structure:

We take texts and we turn them around and over and upside down; we cut them into their bits and pieces; we tug at them, tutor to student, student to tutor, back and forth, to and fro, tug-tug-tug. We ball up ideas and we pitch them, sometimes to each other, sometimes away—three points!—into the trash. (Omygodcanwedothat?) (p. 18).

Yet questions in tutoring sessions should not be arbitrary or haphazard. Questions move a student from lower-level thinking to higher-level thinking. Questions have two purposes: to lead and to probe. To establish when these types of questions should be asked, clear learning objectives must be established early in a tutoring session. Objectives personalize writing strategies and confirm that a student’s needs and concerns are met while also addressing a teacher’s objectives (Gillespie and Learner, 2008; Harris, 1992; Ryan and Zimmerelli, 2010).

Tutors who use leading questions guide the student’s answer by suggesting how to respond to a question. The result is a directive statement disguised as a question, and it is dichotomous, invoking either a yes or a no response (Harris, 1986, p. 65). However, leading questions do have merit in tutoring sessions. They seek to find out the student’s prior knowledge; they test whether the student understands the concrete, and they build upon the student’s existing foundations (Fredricks, 2010; Ross, 1998).

Probing questions during the “setting the agenda” stage of a tutoring session are more diverse in nature. They ask for a rationale behind student reasoning, which prompts the student to do a multitude of tasks. These include any one of the following: define an audience, develop supporting details, explain a process, summarize the paper, reevaluate an answer, or find appropriate applications based on prior knowledge (Chuska, 2003; Gillespie and Learner 2008; Hunkins, 1989; Ross, 1998). According to Duke (1975) and Hunkins (1989), probing questions also help the tutor determine objectives and build rapport. Harris (1992) confirms this and adds that probing questions during the “setting the agenda” stage help the tutor negotiate, multi-task, or chunk the session to meet the student’s needs and concerns (p. 278).

Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Center

Knowing what approach to take and which questions to ask can improve the tutoring session immensely. One methodology that accomplishes this goal is the long-established Bloom’s Taxonomy, which was designed in 1956. The Taxonomy was not intended for tutoring purposes; however, it does serve as a cumulative hierarchy to engage the student in lower-level thinking prior to higher-level thinking (Benson, Sporakowski, and Stremmel, 1992; Granello, 2001). To achieve this, Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation as the six domains of cognitive processing, and each category is broken into clearly defined subcategories that develop learning objectives that are feasible and measurable (Bloom, 1982, p. 18).


Benson, M. J., Sporakowsk, M. J., and Stremmel, A. J. (1992). Writing reviews of family literature: Guiding students using Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive objectives. Family Relations. 41(1), 65-69.

Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). (1982). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Boquet, E. H. (2002). Noise from the Writing Center. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

Bruffee, K. (1984). Peer tutoring and the “conversation of mankind.” College English. 15(7), 635-652.

Chuska, K. R. (2003). Motivation, participation, and higher-level thinking. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

Duke, C. R. (1975). The student-centered conference and the writing process. National Council of Teachers of English. 64(9), 44-47.

Fredricks, A. D. (2010). The teacher’s handbook: Strategies for success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education/ Lanham MD 2010.

Gillespie, P., & Learner, N. (2008). The Longman guide to peer tutoring. New York: Pearson-Longman.

Granello, D. H. (2001). Promoting cognitive complexity in graduate written work: Using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a pedagogical tool to improve literature reviews. Counselor Education & Supervision. 40, 292-307.

Hunkins, F. P. (1989). Teaching thinking through effective questioning. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

Harris, M. (1986). Teaching one-to-one: The writing conference. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Harris, M. (1992). Collaboration is not collaboration is not collaboration: Writing center tutorials vs. peer response groups. College Composition and Communication. 43(3), 369-383.

Ross. E. P. (1998). Pathways to thinking: Strategies for developing independent learners K-8. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

Your topic should be narrowed to meet the interest and expectations of a single audience. Your first paragraph contains a thesis/main point that demonstrates you are thinking critically. Your thesis/main point should be clear and specific, but doesn’t make the reader say, “So what?” Structure for your argument should be shaped by support that is contextualized. Make sure to explain why your evidence relates back to your thesis. Your support should build credence to your authority as a writer. Write what you mean to say–even if saying it requires multiple drafts and revisions. This effort will develop your memorable individual voice. Developing ideas over a course of several readings will create a completed design that offers a package for the reader to open up. Inside the package is form, structure, order, focus, and coherence. Clarity is the bow on top, which provides a sparkly incitement to begin unwrapping the many layers of meaning within the text.

For an example of what great writing looks like, read Arthur Miller’s Tragedy and the Common Man.


Posted: January 13, 2014 in Pedagogy

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  • Help! For Writers (Roy Peter Clark)
  • The Old Editor Says (John E. McIntyre)
  • The Writing Life (Annie Dillard)
  • The Little Black Book of Writers’ Advice (Steven D. Price)

These are resources abound for writers in need of advice, encouragement, inspiration, and guidance. Typically these manuals provide tidbits and maxims for how to write, but rarely touch upon the process of the writing task. Writing is recursive. Putting words on a page is a repetitive action with three parts: envisioning, re-visioning, and editing.


Envisioning consists of brainstorming, which could be anything from making a list or outline, talking to a friend, free writing, doing research, mind-mapping, etc. The list for envision is extensive, but the point is to find a strategy that works for you. What prewriting task energizes you? Once you find, exercise that strategy over and over again until its use becomes easy and natural.

When first getting started, it’s important to remember these questions when considering the content you’re gathering.

  1. Is the information important?
  2. Is the information interesting?
  3. Does it support the focus of the piece?

For me, I envision what I’m going to write by taking a walk to the store or to the library, which gives me time to muse things over and play with words and phrases in my head. The beauty of this strategy is that I’m not cognizant that I’m prewriting until I return from my walk and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. If I’m really stuck with coming up with a new topic to write about, I crack open a book. As Samuel Johnson advises,

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading; in order to write, a man will turn over half a library to make a book.



Re-visioning means sitting down and writing. There are onerous deadlines to be met. There are ideas to prune. Having a mission and steps to accomplish a daily writing goal is important. I like to use a spreadsheet or calendar to keep track of my progress (and food is an excellent motivator). Re-visioning takes time, so be sure you schedule a block of your day that way you are uninterrupted.  In the morning after a cup of coffee, in the afternoon after lunch, in the evening after the kids are asleep–the time could be any time; just as long as the writing gets done.

If you fear the blank page or struggle with coming up with the right words, be comforted by these authors’ words:

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, brain surgery.~Robert Cormier

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary–it’s just a matter of arranging them in the right sentences.~W. Somerset Maugham

One easy way to get yourself motivated to create a draft is to write down ten  of your most important ideas and then narrow the ten down to five ideas and then cut the list down to three. Work on developing your top three that day, and you’ll be sure to feel productive. The next day create a 10-word lead, a 1-sentence summary, or a 6-word theme statement, for your chapter, introduction, conclusion, character sketch, or whatever you might have been working on the day before. This will allow you to revise as you write, which will make the next step in the process much easier.


Your writing at this stage should be ready to be pruned and polished. Your goal is to, as Matthew Arnold puts it, “have something to say and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.” You’ll want to consider what your piece is really about, and what feeling you want to leave when the reader is finished. You can accomplish this via sensory details and rhetorical devices. Consider compressing your ideas for conciseness. You’ll keep your ideas, but say them in fewer words, which will eliminate awkward language and will devise a more active sentence structure. Also consider changing your beginning so you start in medias res (dropping the reader in the middle of the story) so the reader is instantly engaged. Capturing the reader’s attention is vital, but difficult. Annie Dillard claims the challenges comes from the simple fact that written word isn’t like experiencing life no matter how much verisimilitude it possesses. She states:

This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader’s ear must adjust down from loud life to the most subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word.

Persuasive Business Writing

Posted: January 10, 2014 in Pedagogy

How we write and how we talk is how we define ourselves.~William Zinsser

Effective persuasion is founded on remarkable products and services. These products and services are built to be noticeable because the enticements they contain are innovative enough to combat consumers’ attention deficit to marketing. Having a user-centered design and a rhetorical awareness in the writing’s design. To accomplish organization, the needs, outcomes, and recommended solutions should be presented in a way that tells a compelling, engaging, articulate story to creates a positive impression. Your writing style should be readable: sentences should be 14-22 words in length with single-syllable words, and vigorous verbs should carry the weight of the sentence.

If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.~Cicero

To be persuasive, understand your audience’s stance by asking “What is my goal? Who am I writing to?” and build a bridge between their understanding and yours. Your end goal is not to manipulate the person, but to help the person decide the best course of action. Use a three step process to convince the person to see your point of view.

  1.  Present a centralized focus centered on the customer’s needs and goals. Your centralized focus should answer, “What can I deliver? Why my product and not the competitor’s?”
  2. Build a balanced argument around the bottom-line message using simple, clear, precise language that is free of jargon. Demonstrate an awareness of the customer’s key issues and follow up with a plan to resolve these areas of concern with your product or service. Write strategically to make the your message appear transparent and trustworthy to even the most skeptical reader.
  3. Incorporate supporting details–statistics and anecdotes work well. Identify what results will occur, and these should be measurable, direct consequence of your product’s impact.

Conferencing with students

Posted: January 6, 2014 in Pedagogy
Tags: ,

Tutoring students one-on-one is time consuming especially when there is no goal in mind or if students come unprepared to discuss their papers. The following resources and approaches help to make conferencing more productive and beneficial for both the teacher and the student.


Smith College: Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching, and Learning

  • Higher order concerns are thesis and focus, audience and purpose, development and organization. These come first.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: ENG 401A Advanced Composition

“Top-Down” Editing by Dr. Patricia Sullivan at Purdue University

Inspect the document level by level

  1. Document level: Look at the title, introduction, abstract, headings, visual/verbal roadmap
  2. Section-level: Look at each section individually for coherence and clarity
  3. Paragraph/sentence level: Look at each paragraph, then each sentence for development and correctness.

Higher order Concerns

  • Thesis or focus
  • Audience and purpose
  • Organization
  • Development
  • Coherence
  • Repetition of a key term
  • Synonyms
  • Pronouns
  • Transitional Words
  • Sentence Pattern

Purdue University: OWL Purdue

Thesis or focus:

  • Does the paper have a central thesis?
  • Can you, if asked, offer a one-sentence explanation or summary of what the paper is about?
  • Ask someone to read the first paragraph or two and tell you what he or she thinks the paper will discuss.

Audience and purpose:

  • Do you have an appropriate audience in mind? Can you describe them?
  • Do you have a clear purpose for the paper? What is it intended to do or accomplish?
  • Why would someone want to read this paper?
  • Does the purpose match the assignment?


  • Does the paper progress in an organized, logical way?
  • Go through the paper and jot down notes on the topics of the various paragraphs. Look at this list and see if you can think of a better organization.
  • Make a brief outline. Does the organization make sense? Should any part be moved to another part?
  • Ask someone to read the paper. At the end of each paragraph, ask the person to forecast where the paper is headed. If the paper goes in a direction other than the one forecasted by the reader, is there a good reason, or do you need to rewrite something there?


  • Are there places in the paper where more details, examples, or specifics are needed?
  • Do any paragraphs seem much shorter and in need of more material than others?
  • Ask someone to read the paper and comment if something is unclear and needs more description, explanation, or support.

Tutoring/Commenting Style

Minimalist tutoring style promoted by Jeff Brooks

  • Student does the bulk of the work with his/her own writing

Non-directive, hands-off approach

  • Make comments in the form of questions or “consider this” statements

Student-focused feedback

  • Ask student what she/he needed/wanted help with before assessing
  • Students know their own weaknesses. Make the session about ways to improve and scaffold skills

 Three positive, three negative comments approach

  • Introduce comments with an audience reaction
  • Draw arrows or highlight to promote the discussion of organization
  • Keep comments holistic unless specific areas need the creation of intricate levels of logic
  • Be conscientious when delivering constructive feedback
  • Phrase suggestions as “try this” or “consider this” or used questions

Commenting on Student Papers

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Pedagogy
Tags: ,

DAFT COT trailer

Handling a controversial, argumentative topic would be challenging for some–the reader’s emotional response is to take a side and defend it. When I encounter topics that I have a strong opinion about, I’m interested to hear or read what one person believes. Rarely does that person’s stance completely coincide with mine.

I think it’s important for teachers to explain where they come from when making comments as a pseudo-audience member. Teachers do not have the right to grade based on personal opinion: they must remain as objective as they can. After all, they cannot grade based on their personal stance when taking part in the writing conversation. As Bruffee points out, “Writing may seem to be displaced in time and space from the rest of a writer’s community of readers and other writers, but in every instance writing is an act, however much displaced, of conversational exchange.”

To accomplish this “third-party” perspective, I found myself critiquing the rhetoric behind the argument. The belief system had nothing to do with how I felt towards the topic but everything with how the argument would be perceived by others. The blogs I commented on were mainly liberal, which lends to my political and personal slant. If anything I didn’t feel opposed to these students’ opinions, but rather protective because their views were my views (for the most part).

I wanted the student I was working with to produce the best argument they could by eliminating flaws in logic, strengthening their theses, honing their focui, and improving upon their organization. Surprisingly, these were the areas where the students requested the most help. These higher level concerns were the ones I immediately identified as being the source of their weaknesses, and the students instinctively knew where they needed to improve. I doubted then that any comments would be part of the “banking concept.” I wasn’t considering depositing information into my students’ heads with the intent that they must make the changes I was suggesting. I had no intention of portraying my insight as the right way to approach the topic, think about the writing process, or meet the assignment’s requirements.

From what I’ve found from tutoring and from this project, permitting students to choose where they want to improve makes them more likely to use the comments provided. Hooks would claim this manipulative act is a form of praxis–allowing students to take action and reflect on the world (and their work) in order to change it. She argues for progressive, holistic education that makes students engaged and empowered. Making broad comments that are focused on students’ individual wants and needs allows them to invest in one of the most painful parts of the writing process–revision. I believe that guiding students to self-discovery and self-actualization leads to writers who take ownership of the production of better writing.

The students felt the feedback helped them and expressed appreciation for the comments I provided–even the negative ones. I tend to exhibit total candor and honesty when I provide feedback. (My co-worker always asks me for writing advice because, as she says, “You’d tell me if it sounds like crap but in a nice way.”) The blatant truth and a Socratic approach towards self-knowledge seems the most effective strategy when I need to convince people to alter their faulty logic or tighten their writing focus.

Even though I’m able to be neutral and objective when examining a piece of writing, I find myself feeling uncomfortable when I consider grading student work. Belief–the strength in one’s convictions–cannot be critiqued. Slapping a letter on a belief seems degrading to a student’s effort at representing how she feels on paper. Grades, though, are essential at establishing where students are in relation to their personal progress. Using DAFT COT to create a rubric doesn’t allow for arbitration or a passing whim; percentages under this grading system have meaning and carry weight regardless of a student’s opinion on a controversial topic.

Development, Audience, Focus, Thesis, Content, Organization, Transitions

  • Method for prioritizing students’ wants and needs when commenting
  • Goal-setting exercise for students to identify strengths/weaknesses
  • Mnemonic for memorizing higher-order concerns for a holistic approach towards the writing process
  • Distinguishes what revision is intended to accomplish/improve
  • Letters are arranged to guide the writer through brainstorming or drafting individual paragraphs

Arranged Alphabetically

Article Response: 1 page double spaced, contain name and author of article, brief summary of main points, and a response relaying how the article made you think about tutoring practices.

Blog: Your 500-word posts will respond to the question/s listed on the schedule. When responding to a blog, be courteous and thorough.

Blog Presentation: No more than 5 minutes, informal presentation going over the highlights of what you’ve learned this semester, may be in any format…be creative

Debate: 2 sides; 1 show down. Are you for or against? There is no middle ground. This is ACADEMIA!

Fieldwork: General laundry list of things to do outside of class.

Final Essay: 2-3 page paper explaining why you think you’d make an excellent writing consultant (or…not). Include content from EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING we’ve learned this semester to support your argument. Be creative, convincing, and concise

Final Oral Commentary: You will be supplied with the scenario of an unmotivated student who comes in with an assignment sheet for a literacy narrative and a laptop. The student is starting from scratch. You have 20 minutes to set goals and successfully tackle one of them. Sound easy? Here’s the catch. The student is one of the following:

  • Learning disabled
  • From Japan and only knows some conversational English
  • Wants to use the session to bash the professor
  • Experiencing writer’s block
  • A procrastinator—the paper is due the next day
  • A nontraditional student
  • Exhibits composition-phobia
  • Just wants the grammar checked, but there are serious flaws with organization

Jigsaw: Reading is assigned during class. A small group becomes an “expert” on one section, creates a visual aide, and presents information to the class.

Lecture Participation: Be actively involved; may be asked to take notes for the class, be able to summarize discussion and apply it to learning goals; use “I would” statements rather than “you should” when talking about best practices; admit when you don’t know something.

Literacy Narrative: Assignment posted on Blackboard.

Open Discussion Day: Topics you choose; discussions you want!

Oral Commentary: Practice the first five minutes of a tutoring session with a partner. Set goals for addressing a literacy narrative assignment for 5 minutes. Instructor and partner will assess your performance.

Panel Discussion: Work with 3-4 assigned group members; address the tutoring scenario of an unmotivated student by looking through the less the instructor provides; gather resources (those provided and researched) and post to blog prior to presenting. Form a cohesive, interactive, insightful 30 minute presentation. You will be assessing your partners’ participation and they yours. The class and the instructor will be assessing your panel as a whole.

Patchwork Quilt: Hands-on creative project involving markers, crayons, chalk, and construction paper (instead of patches)

Prezi: Kind of like a PowerPoint but awesomer (yes that is now a word). If you’ve never used this program, consult the “How To” video before asking me. Be sure to post to your blog!

Scenarios/Concerns: Scenarios consist of made-up tutoring situations; concerns will cover various topics as they arise from your tutoring observations/sessions; you will be graded by sticky notes—must have four sticky notes (signifying four worthwhile/meaningful contributions) to get full credit.

Speed Dating: Reading is done outside of class. Notes are typed and a hard copy brought. Small groups work together to combine knowledge and to create a “dating slogan” (i.e. a key idea from the assigned text). Individuals speedily mingle with members of the class.

Tutoring Reflections (Observation): must not refer to tutor or student by name, use “I would” statements, try to see where theory/philosophy comes into the session, total 250 words.

Tutoring Reflections (Self): same as above with the addition that you must assess your own strengths/weaknesses/concerns/comprehensions

Webcast: 3-5 minute video with voice over, text, pictures, music, etc. Spoken dialogue must equate to 500 words, which you will turn in. Be sure to post to your blog!

Written Commentary: You will be provided with a former student’s literacy narrative. Consider HOCs & LOCs as you comment on the word choice, style, content organization, clarity, and grammar. Assess whether this is an A, B, C, D, or F paper.

Schedule of Events, Rebellions, Mischief, and Mayhem

Date In-class Activity Homework Assignment
1/28/14 Introductions

Teaching philosophy



Longman Tutor Guide, Chapter 11 “Writing Centers: Historical and Theoretical Contexts”


  • Create blog on GoogleBlogger & share link with me.


  • Respond to the following:

What are your learning goals for this semester?

1/30/14 Lecture Participation

Longman Writing Center Guide, Chapter 2, Christina Murphy, “The Writing Center and Social Constructionist Theory”


What does it mean to teach writing?

2/4/14 Online class Blog

  • Choose 5 classmates
  • Respond to 2nd entry (100 words per classmate)
2/6/14 Jigsaw

Vygotsky (ZPD) and North (Idea of a writing center revisited)


Compare/contrast Vygotsky & North


Read for Debate

Trimbur’s “Peer Tutoring: A contradiction in terms?” & prepare for debate next class

2/11/14 Trimbur Debate

Literacy Narrative assigned

Literacy Narrative Draft
2/13/14 Panel discussion assigned

Group work time to prepare

Literacy Narrative

Draft due NEXT class!

2/18/14 Turn in Literacy Narrative Draft

Peer response


  • Make tutoring appointment for literacy narrative
  • Group prepare for panel discussion
  • Post materials on blog
2/20/14 Prepare for presentation & grade partners Fieldwork

Get literacy narrative tutored

Practice for presentation


Blog & Read

Peer response vs. Tutoring (support with Harris’s “Collaboration is not Collaboration is not Collaboration”)

2/25/14 Literacy Narrative Final Draft DUE


Discuss tutoring sessions


Panel Discussion

Build rapport & negotiate goals


Respond to panel OR reaction to teaching



Arrange an observation time w/ mentor

2/27/14 Panel Discussion

Learning style & direct/minimalist


Respond to panel OR reaction to teaching

3/4/14 Scenarios/Concerns

Dos & Don’ts of Commenting Styles




Observe a tutoring session

3/6/14 Scenarios/Concerns

Teaching Invention


Observe a tutoring session

3/11/14 Scenarios/Concerns

Tutoring WAC: Tutoring in all Disciplines


Written Commentary assigned

Written Commentary

DUE next class 3/13

3/13/14 Scenarios/Concerns

What do you do with the first five minutes?


Oral Commentary assigned

Oral Commentary

DUE after Spring Break on 3/25

Spring Break: No class!

3/25/14 Oral commentary presentations & feedback Reflection

Observe a tutoring session


Article Response (bring hard copy)

  • 250 word response to assigned Bruffee sections
  • 250 word response to Inquiry-Based Research article
3/27/14 Speed Dating

Bruffee & Inquiry-Based Research


Tutor with student for ½ session

Compare/contrast your style with mentor’s style



Writing Center-related curiosity explained using Inquiry-based Research format

4/1/14 Scenarios/concerns

Cultural diversity & belief systems


How do I react to new/uncomfortable situations?

4/3/14 Scenarios/concerns

Learning disabilities & emotional students & knowing your resources


GoogleForm Options


How can I accommodate my tutoring to meet a student’s needs?



Create a 3-5 minute webcast resource.

Post to blog 4/15

4/8/14 “Hear it from the Pros” panel

Becoming a Professional


Vote on GoogleForm

Choose 2 Writing Center Articles

4/10/14 Open Discussion Day Fieldwork

Draft 1st article response & take it to a writing consultant


Final Copy DUE 4/17

4/15/14 Webcast DUE



ELL & Citation Styles & Grammar & Knowing Your Resources


Draft 2st article response & take it to a writing consultant


Final Copy DUE 4/17

4/17/14 Patchwork Quilt

What is tutoring?


Final Drafts of Article Responses DUE


Tutor for ½ session; record competencies/concerns

4/22/14 Lecture Participation

Negotiating power, privilege, and place within writing centers


Tutor for 1 hour session; record competencies/concerns

4/24/14 Final Essay topic assigned

Brainstorming/Invention time with peers

DUE 5/13


Blog Presentation assigned

Due 5/13


Final Oral Commentary assigned

Sign up Schedule


  • Check email for Final Oral Commentary individual scenario & schedule
  • Prepare for a 20 minute Oral Commentary/mock tutoring session with instructor
  • Schedule an appointment with writing consultant to review Final Essay Draft
4/29/14 Online Class Blog

  • Post Blog Presentation idea
  • Post Oral Commentary outline
  • Respond to ALL classmates with 100 word feedback response for BOTH assignments


(see emailed schedule for assigned time & date)

5/13/14 FINALS WEEK—Party Time!

Snacks and drinks will be provided; feel free to bring a treat to share

  • Blog Presentations
  • Final Essay Due
  • Create thank you cards for mentors

Thanks for a great class and all your hard work!

Sample Syllabus

Posted: December 10, 2013 in Pedagogy

The greatest sign of a success for a [tutor] is to be able to say,

“The [writers] are now working as if I did not exist.”

~Maria Montessori

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you’re dead and rotten,

either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading”

~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac

Writing Consultant Training

Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00-3:30

Instructor: Emily Raffensberger

Office Hours: Monday 11-12; Wednesday 11-12; Friday 11-12

Email:–>will respond between 8AM-9PM on weekdays; 9AM-5PM on weekends

Plagiarism Policy:

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines plagiarizing: “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

Plagiarism will NOT be tolerated. All sources must be documented in MLA citation style. Style guides can be found online at OWL Purdue and Hard copy style guides are available for use in the writing center. Plagiarized material must be rewritten for partial credit.

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is required. Missing more than one week of class (two classes) without an excused absence will lower your grade by one letter grade. Unexcused late arrivals and early departures will count as partial absences. If you miss class, obtain notes and assignments from another student. Be responsible and exchange phone numbers and email addresses.

Course Objectives

Personal, academic, and professional development gained through
reading, writing, speaking, and thinking

Grading Scale




Article Responses

45 (15 pts each)


Blog Posts



Final Oral Commentary



Final Paper



Literacy Narrative



Oral Commentary



Panel Discussion










25 (5 pts each)



45 (15 pts each)





Written Commentary