Friday, December 13, 2013

Blog 13: Advice to New Tutors

Any advice I would give to new tutors would need to be included with this  important disclaimer: I am not an expert writing tutor. I have only been here for a short time, so my knowledge and experience is not nearly as good as that of a master tutor who has been working as a writing tutor for years and years. That would be my first piece of advice – watch and learn from the masters. The master tutors have been in difficult tutoring sessions and know how to handle them gracefully and professionally. Also, learn to relax. If this tutoring session doesn’t go well, take it as a learning experience, and move on to the next student. Each tutoring session is a fresh start. Any bad feelings created during one session should be erased so that your next victim-(*cough) student feels welcome and that they are in a safe place to ask questions and learn. Show the student that you care by listening to their concerns. Empathize with them, but keep the session on task. Try to befriend them so that they feel you are trying to help them, not judge them. Realize that there will be tutees who are at different levels of writing competency, and that you should never make them feel belittled by emphasizing the gap between their ability and yours. Praise their strengths to increase their confidence, but don’t be afraid to gently point out their mistakes or make suggestions for improvement. Remember that this is their paper, not yours. You are not supposed to be co-author of the paper, so keep your ideas and your writing to minimum. Have the student come up with as much of the ideas as they can. If you fix the paper for them now, they will learn to rely on having someone else edit their papers rather than learning to catch their mistakes for themselves.


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