Saturday, September 30, 2006

Phew! That was one long sentence.

I definitely agree that staying on too safe of ground will result in an unproductive session, and if tutors are uncertain if they are crossing the line, then they should just go ahead and take the chance because, like Wingate stated, a tutor can always recover the session, and after the tutor has recovered the session then he/she can take a moment to step back and see what it was that he/she did wrong and learn from the situation, but if he/she never crosses the line, then he/she will never be able to learn from their mistakes which is the best way to learn; therefore he/she will not probably not reach their full potential in tutoring, nor will the tutee benefit from the situation because when a tutor takes over the session the tutee can still learn a little bit by observing the patterns and corrections the tutor has made, so then the tutee would not be walking away empty handed, and at least the tutor has planted some type of a seed in the tutee which would somewhat help them in their future papers, and also although a tutor should not be a counselor it is okay to empathize with the tutee every once and a while because this will let the tutee know that writing is challenging, and the tutor is there to help him or her get through it, so the tutee will be more likely to come back to the Writing Center because they feel comfortable and welcome, and also if the tutee does not understand something because they do not have the proper background skills in writing, then it is probably okay for the tutor to give the tutee a crash coarse in writing, so that the tutee will be able to understand the concept that he/she needs to understand; although this might be overwhelming for the tutee at first, it will definitely benefit them in the present and future because they will not be leaving the Writing Center empty handed, but they will have gathered more knowledge that they can take with them in the future, and I actually observed an example of this when I saw Sam tutoring a bio-med student, and she had never written an essay before, so she did not know the basic structure of an essay, and Sam first went through the structure and then helped her with her particular problem of outlining, so the bio-med student would have never been able to construct an outline for her future paper if Sam never would have “overwhelmed” her with the outline of an essay which makes a perfect example of taking in chance in crossing the line.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Longest Sentence and One Other Thing

OK. Here you go. Read the following:

It is not exactly reassuring to realize that the line always moves and that tutors find it by crossing it. Tutors have to take chances, however. . . . Tutors should not worry about taking chances or making mistakes; we are human, after all. (Wingate 14)

For your blog posts this week, respond to the Wingate quotation above in the following ways:

1) In the longest grammatically correct sentence you can muster--and using only one sentence.

2) Using multiple sentences, but exactly 146 words. The first word must be "despite." The 61st word must be "however." The last word must be "line."

Have fun!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Steal everything that isn't nailed to the ground

I have taken some extra time to mull this idea of stealing over and over. I only work with a handful of seasoned tutors and tutors in training as well. Even though I work with the same people, I still see a lot of things that can better my own style.

I think that everyone has hit the nail on the head about what to steal and who to steal from. We all agree that Keeping the student at ease will always appease the session. Everyone does better when they aren't worrying. Really you can see this method from any of the tutors. I think we, as tutors in training, have a lot more to offer than any of us let on. We may think that we are bluffing the student when we go into a session, but we all enter it with a sort of ease. I don't know how to really explain it quite yet, but we all have our own styles in the making.

I think that I want to steal the ways that we are all developing our methods. Its probably better to say that we learn from each other and grow by watching, then sneaking up and stealing an idea. I've watched Kassie create a relaxing environment for the students; and Tyler and Derek both are very tactiful with how they present the concepts of grammar during the sessions; and Gregg seems to never lose control of the session. These are all great ideas that I want to steal, but I think it will help me more to learn how they developed these ideas and steal that.

Are these ideas that we all want to steal something that the tutors were born with, or did they learn through this class? I don't know the answer to this question and I don't know where to steal it from either. I guess I can only watch the other tutors and hope to grow from that, not steal.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Social Plagiarism

Wow...this was a really hard post for me for some reason! It probably has something to do with the fact that I haven’t really paid attention to what sort of tricks I’ve stolen from various sources. Mostly because the only times I’ve really observed anyone with the intent to remember WHO I’m about to steal from, it’s been Katie! While that was very informative it failed to offer enough to fill an assignment about watching people. So I suppose instead I’ll just mention WHAT I’ve learned and maybe…people can lay claim to anything they notice as belonging to them?

Well, lets see the first thing I guess I picked up from just watching people in general was the manner in which you greet and respond to the tutee. Up until I joined the writing center my experiences tended to be more based with people I was familiar with and on paper I could take home and dissect at my leisure. That doesn’t work any longer so I closely watched everyone during my early days in the center and quickly picked up the questions you should always ask, such as what is your homework assignment? I also picked up just the general laid back and yet professional tone that is used when conversing with a student. Along the way I’ve also acquired several delicate ways to approach the questions we have to ask for paperwork, such as for our white sheets or having someone fill out the blue computer paper. The witty reasons that a tutor has given before will be pilfered and added to my own collection, so if you hear me make a comment that sounds eerily similar to one you’ve made before, don’t worry, its not your imagination I have in fact stolen valuable goods from you! Don’t fret, however, for I have no intention of serving ANY time for my devious habits! MUAHAHAHAH!! Okay, so that was a little random, but it’s all good, on a more serious note I have truthfully stolen a lot of lines that I found to be perfect and modified them which has helped me a lot in almost all of my tutoring sessions. I have tried very hard to imitate the various responses I’ve seen over time and I hope I’ve been doing them justice so far.

I also picked up an interesting idea, one that I don’t know who the claim goes to but thanks for the idea, and that is making marks along side the sentences where I noticed a problem exists. I can then hear the whole paper and go back with a general understanding of what the paper is about before I need to make any global corrections. I know that Katie makes notes while the student is reading, but I found that didn’t work very well for me because I wasn’t able to lead back to the paper with my questions. It seems much simpler to mark exactly where the issue is at and then go back over it. I’ll make a mark at any place that the student pauses, which again is something I’ve picked up from someone. This way the student sees where they stumbled over wording, meaning they weren’t probably saying exactly what they wanted correctly. Overall I think the method has worked very well and kudos to whomever I stole it from!

Well…I think that’s all for tonight. Until next time then!
Ja! ^^

Brain Theft in a Timely Manner

What do I want to steal? After all the plagiarism talks that teachers have given me throughout my school career I can still honestly say that I don’t think any good art has ever come about without stealing. So again I’ll pose the question, what do I want to steal?...Well, I still haven’t had very much tutoring experience, and I can’t think of anything off of the top of my head that seems pertinent to write, so I have decided to look through some of the other blogs in this forum and steal some of their stealings, let’s see what happens.

HA! Okay, to start with, I unwittingly stole the idea to steal ideas from the stolen ideas of others from Melissa. That was NOT intended, but I like her tenacity, and her ability to go to other sources when she doesn’t know where to begin, which I’m trying to do right now. I heard quite a few people mention that they would like to be able to make the students laugh. That’s a wonderful quality, which I would like to emulate, but what I think I really want to steal is, as Ryan puts it “the years of experience from the seasoned tutors that can assess the situation quickly and precisely.” More than that even, I would like to have all the answers that my student needs at the forefront of my mind. I would like for the student to think that I know what I’m doing because I DO know what I’m doing, and to have the confidence inspired by that knowledge. (Ala Yulia’s confidence portion of her blog.) I would like to be able to pin-point grammar errors like Derek, and Katie (NOT my strong suit). I’m trying to develop that now, but I wish that I had it behind me already.

I guess one of the major things that I’d like to steal from some of the other tutors I’ve seen is sincerity. I want to be able to give confidence through the compliments that I give the students, because a few of the few that I’ve worked with so far have had little confidence in their writing abilities and vast potential. Some of their stories and ideas were very engaging. I also want to be able to send them away with a clue about the other things that they need to work on outside of the major points which I cover in a session. I don’t want them to walk out with a body outline to construct and think that other than that they’re done. On the other hand I don’t want to overload them. I want to find a happy medium and I don’t know that there is one. I’ll have to watch the other tutors for that and see.

I also want to steal some time management strategies. Katie gets her sessions done, and addresses all the major concerns of the paper in a timely fashion which I have not yet been able to achieve. In trying to work with students, I’ve found that I usually end up taking a lot more than twenty minutes whenever I can afford it. I’m not sure how she does it yet either. It usually takes about ten minutes for me just to get going and finish having the student read their paper. The other tutors manage it though, and I’m keen on stealing whatever ideas that anyone else in the class can throw me on this subject. HELP PLEEEEEEEEAAAASEEEE!!!


Tutoring as a legal alternative to voyeurism

If I could steal something from tutoring methods I have seen it definitely would be the ability to make a nervous and self-conscious student feel comfortable and calm. And so far, I think I’ve been fairly successful in my stealing. I’ve basically composed a cut-and-paste script of my own from my tutoring spy sessions. This includes a warm introduction as I record their information and ask them to take a seat. After this is a tactful intelligence gathering bit with questions to figure out exactly what the student needs to accomplish, and how best to approach that particular student given the problems they seem to be heaving. If all this goes well, the actual “work” part of tutoring the student on how to make the paper better is straight forward. But if the first few minutes are confusing and stressful, then the rest of the session tends to reflect this. Most of it depends on the unique personality of the student; what I would like to steal most would be the years of experience from the seasoned tutors that can assess the situation quickly and precisely.

As for effective writing critiquing strategies, there was one in particular that I want to make mine. In one session I witnessed, a woman was having a hard time articulating a certain sentence. The tutor subtly asked her a clarification about the sentence that took the tutee's mind off the stubborn words on the page and into conversation mode, and she said ended up saying exactly what she had been trying to write. And that's when the tutor quickly answered, "Okay. Write that."

Stolen Goods: They Make Us Gooder Tutors.

Stealing, it’s a beautiful thing! Just the other day I flipped the paper over and asked the student, “What are you trying to say?” OK, I didn’t really flip the paper over (although it would have been more dramatic), but I did say, “Let’s set this aside for a moment,” and that’s more or less the same thing. It worked like magic, so thank you Dr. Rogers.

Another important characteristic I have observed in many tutors is confidence. Even though I now know that in some cases it is little more than an absolutely superb Oscar-worthy performance, I firmly believe that it is immensely important. Regardless of whether the confidence is feigned or genuine, it is often contagious. And I can’t think of an instance where a healthy confidence boost hurt anyone’s writing.

I strongly believe that learning is a lot more effective if emotions of any kind are involved, especially positive emotions. That is why when I see a tutor and a student laughing in a session, I immediately know that it is very likely there is some serious learning going on. So to all of you out there who know how to make a student feel at ease, I am watching you and stealing all the good stuff: skillful use of small talk, greetings accompanied by a smile, relaxed posture.

Oh, this blog is a little vague. It’s been a long week and my mind is wandering when it should be resting, and it is probably stumbling, too. So please excuse the mistakes.

I know that this is not nearly long enough but I do not want to sit here and come up with a bunch of meaningless stuff just to meet the five hundred word requirement. It is either below my artistic integrity(ha-ha, like there really is such a thing!) or I am just too tired to stay up any longer. Although I would like to add that it has been a pleasure to associate with you all in this class. I truly feel like I learn something from each person.