Thursday, September 08, 2011

Question Modeling & Memorizing Strategies

One thing I learned, which I wasn’t really expecting, is that tutees are generally very understanding. During one session, I couldn’t quite understand the intended meaning of the student’s writing. We had to go over her paragraph a few times and come up with a couple replacement sentences before we got it right. Rather than getting frustrated, the student still seemed in a good mood and remained open to further suggestions. In a different session, I was helping a student review comma rules for a presentation he was going to give. When writing or reading others’ writing, I know when to use commas or not and I know the reasons why. However, I didn’t know the six rules by name. When helping the tutee I asked another tutor for some clarification. After listing the six cases, I was able to explain them to the tutee and we came up with some examples together. The tutee’s enthusiasm and willingness to listen to me was unaffected by the fact that I needed a little guidance as well. He didn’t act like he wanted to switch tutors and was really thankful for my help.

Sometimes it is easier to relate to someone when you know they have had similar experiences or questions. Perhaps in seeing that the tutor needs help too, more rapport is built between the tutor and the tutee. Also, by asking questions, the tutor is modeling good learning strategies. My education classes always stress that teachers should model proper behavior, techniques, and learning strategies to the students. Claire has also mentioned a recently published article that shows a connection between success and asking for help. If I ask for help, the tutee will see that such behavior is beneficial; this may reinforce their motivation to visit the writing center.

Another thing I learned this week was a few different memorizing strategies for commonly confused and misspelled words. This has already helped me in a tutoring session. I was able to catch a misused word, explain the difference between the word she used and the word she meant to use, and how to remember the difference. It was actually quite satisfying. Most of the strategies used to memorize the proper use and spelling of words are quite silly. Sometimes the sillier the strategy, the easier it is to remember. For example, one way to remember the difference between weather and whether is that weather has the word eat in it. So, if the weather is nice, you can eat outside. By process of elimination you can be sure that whether is used to introduce alternatives. Another one is that except can be distinguished from accept by visual cues in the word. The x in except is similar to a no-sign with a cross over an unacceptable activity. This can be a reminder that if you are excluding something, except with an x is the proper word to use. On the other hand, the two c’s in accept are hugging each other which can serve as a reminder that you are welcoming or receiving something.


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