Monday, December 10, 2012

Cross Pollination

I would definitely say that my time at the writing center has changed the way that I think about school and about myself as a student. As I've helped students learn to refine and polish their own writing, I have learned how to become a better writer myself. I think the most obvious way that I have seen myself improve as a writer comes directly as a result of having to learn and explain the comma rules. I used to be very comma happy, and I honestly didn't know half of the comma rules. I just placed commas based on my gut instincts. It was only after I started working at the writing center that I definitively knew when a comma was or was not needed.

Unlike the tutors who came in for Fall semester, I spent my first several weeks at the writing center primarily reading the many books and manuals we have in the writing center. Because we were interns, Claire had  asked us to study up a bit before we took our first sessions.In a way I had wanted to just jump in and start tutoring, but in retrospect I see now how tremendously helpful it was for me to review and learn in greater detail some of the English concepts that I would teach to students.  Of course the obvious benefit of all this studying was that I felt more prepared to explain things to tutees, but I also saw personal gains as I was able to use this knowledge when writing for my own classes.

APA format is something that I have worked very hard to know and understand. I had only written one paper in APA format before I started working here, so I made it a goal to really study the APA manuals and brochure. Because I had been very frustrated with trying to use that format for the first time, I have been working this semester on a step-by-step guide to APA format. I created this guide because I had so desperately needed something like this as a student. This project helped me to improve my own knowledge on the subject and to create a document that will help student writers to feel confident using APA format.

As far as how tutoring has changed my approach to being a student goes, I would say that I have tried to do those things that I ask the students I tutor to do. I have learned through tutoring the importance of drafting, revision, and organization for example, so I have tried to put a greater effort into revising and imposing structure on my own work before I turn it in for a class.

Overall, I think that tutoring helped me to see that I had become lazy as a student. When I wrote papers, I used to just write one draft, which usually consisted of me just spitting out anything that came to mind on the subject I had been asked to write about. By seeing how much improvement can be made when a student works to revise their paper here at the writing center and through our discussions in class, I finally understood how important it was that I write multiple drafts. I became more aware of the choices I was making in my own writing, because I looked at my own paper as if I was getting it tutored.


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