Saturday, November 13, 2010

What to do?

Even though I love working with ESL students, I sometimes find it difficult working with the students still involved in the LEAP program. It seems that while they are still in the program, they often expect someone else to tell them the answer. It is very difficult to know what to concentrate on, what can be “gimme’s,” and what they might be trying to get away with. This is not to say that all of the LEAP students are this way, but sometimes they are so compliant with what I suggest, that there is no room for teaching. It’s really hard to know when to suggest something and when to keep your mouth shut. By the end of the sessions, usually, I feel that I have made at least some progress, but they are very draining sessions. Hopefully as time goes on, I will learn more of what to do and what not to do.

How to Tutor Creative Writing

I thought I was going to do my Bibliographic Essay on Online vs Face-to-face because I honestly don’t like the idea of Online tutoring. However, I found something much more appealing: Tutoring creative writing. This semester, I’ve had the opportunity to tutor a few Intro to Fiction papers, and I love them! I am not sure, though, if I am giving them the feedback they need or deserve. I want to know what the best questions or problems are to identify during a creative writing session and, possibly, how to make “regular” papers more creative. Some of the papers brought in are really dull because I believe the student believes there is no room for creativity in an academic paper. I want to see if that is true or not, but I mostly want to be able to help students who want to write stories and such with their ideas, and the development of their story.


Are podcasts frustrating? Yes. Why? Because I think that if I never listen to them, who is going to take the time to listen to mine? Also, it has been very difficult to find a way to apply podcasting to an ESL population. The language and culture barrier greatly limits what can be done in the podcast. I don’t think that my podcast will be particularly awesome, but some of the other ones I’ve seen glimpses of look good. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.


My experience with diversity up at Weber has been positive as far as I can tell. I never limited myself from classes or people because they might be different, probably because I felt different. I think that my favorite experience in diversity has been while in the Art department. There, I have been exposed to so many new ways of thinking about not just art, but about how people may view life and why that is expressed through art. I think it’s easier to see the diversity in the Art department because there is a product, like a painting, that shows what that person’s episteme or discourse reflects. In a lot of other classes, that is usually only shown to the teachers through papers and other assignments. I think that diversity is so important in the Writing Center because every student that walks through the door is going to have a different view on life. It is important to keep an open mind when seeing that new view for the first time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Schwierigkeit (difficulty)


A lot of the tutoring dread I felt at the beginning of this semester has disappeared! Thanks to some spectacular articles, an allstar English 3840 cast, and especially those grammar reviews Claire has had with us, I'm feeling a lot of the confidence that I so craved months ago. I am not saying I have "arrived." There is still so much more to know. What I am saying, however, is that I have hit a rhythm in which basically every session, no matter what the subject, is the same. BioMed, creative writing, developmental English, 1010, 2010, visual art, it basically doesn't matter for me. What IS more of a factor is who the student is. What kind of a person is she/he? How am I feeling that day? How is he or she feeling? I have found that the dynamics of the tutoring session are controlled more by the two people involved and how invested they are in each other and the piece of writing in question rather than the nature of the piece of writing, itself. That's where the adventure lies for me--with the people involved.

Not to totally skirt the question, however, I will say this: the subject that seems most difficult to STUDENTS, in my experience, is (well, it's not a subject, it's an assignment) the Compare and Contrast essays for the 955 students. They have seemed to find this particular task to be the hardest to figure out. Many of the 955 students are either not sure of what precisely is being asked of them (and those sessions, I admit, are perhaps a little more difficult for me because of all of the angles I have to come from in order to describe how to compare and contrast) or they have convinced themselves that, although they've finished the essay, they have done a terrible job of actually comparing and contrasting the material (which is almost never the actual case--these ones are usually very solid).

I suppose that I do have to put a little more effort into tutoring compare and contrast essays, now that I think about it, but it's still not something that I dread. Tutoring difficulty lately has been gauged by how tuned in the tutor and writer are to each other as well as how much both parties actually care about the writing in question. With both things in place, it rarely matters what subject or assignment is being discussed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


What subjects do you find most difficult to tutor in?

Well... That's New...

The idea I had for my Bibliographic essay was to do something along the lines of face to face vs. online tutoring. I had a hard time transitioning over to online sessions when I started those, so I thought it would make and interesting topic I could relate to. The idea isn't original, but it is what stood out to me the most. I want to be sure to show the contrasts between the two different tutoring types, but I also want to be sure I show the similarities as well, however few there may be. I don't think I will be leaning one way or another as in favor of either tutoring style; I just hope I can find enough information on them both. So, short and sweet, but there's my idea in a nut shell.


To be honest, I had not ever listened to a single podcast before our class. Sure, I had heard about them, knew what they were, but listened to one? Puh-lease. I thought they were like little snippets of an annoying commercial. I had always thought to myself that they would probably be just a waste of time and that if I wanted to listen to commercials I wouldn't skip around to different radio stations quite so much.
Then we started talking about them in class, and I realized that pod casts are not flamboyant or flippant commercials. There really was a point to them. The point that they can be used for entertainment and information. After listening to a few pod casts, I became rather excited about actually doing one.
I thought that creating a pod cast would be a lot of fun, and it was! It was a bit nerve racking trying to figure out what to say, but Josh and Laikwan had some really cool ideas and I was more than happy to roll with it. Hearing about everyone else's pod casts was a lot of fun too. It has actually wanted me to get into pod casting more.