Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Assignment: Evaluation of Tutoring at the Writing Center

To end your four weeks of observing tutors in the Writing Center, you will be writing (as your third graded paper assignment) a letter to Bert Eisenstadt, Manager of the Writing Center, evaluating the tutoring you witnessed. As a way to prepare for writing this paper/letter, we will do the following assignment beginning in tonight's class. The paper/letter that ultimately derives from this assignment will be due May 4.


Problem Posing Exercise: Evaluation of Tutoring at the Writing Center
Professor Gallagher
ENG 220

Part A: What Seems Good at the Writing Center

Step 1: Identify and describe the best tutoring experience you witnessed over the last four weeks of observing tutoring at the Writing Center.

Step 2: Which strategy from our course readings best describes what you witnessed? Explain the strategy and cite the source. If what you witnessed does not resemble anything we read about, then describe the tutor’s strategy as best you can.

Step 3: How did you know the strategy worked? In other words, what evidence from the tutoring session makes you sure it worked? What learning outcomes did you observe?

Part B: What Seems Not To Work at the Writing Center

Step 1: Briefly identify and describe a problem you witnessed during a tutoring session you observed at the Writing Center.

Step 2: Which “tutoring don’t” from our course readings best describes what you witnessed? Present a quotation (identify the source and page number) that describes the problem, then continue the description in your own words, emphasizing what this “tutoring don’t” means to you in a way that will set the reader up for step 3.

Step 3: Describe what you saw in detail when you observed the problem. Describe how it relates to your definition of the problem in steps 1 & 2.

Step 4: Propose a solution to the problem based on strategies and “tutoring dos” from the course reading. Describe what strategy the Writing Center Manager might present in a tutor training session to remedy this problem.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Responding to Dr. Smith's ENG 102 Students

This weekend we officially take our tutoring business into the blogosphere! This is going to be great fun!

Dr. Smith’s class blog is

The Assignment:
This Monday and Tuesday, respond to Professor Jason Smith’s ENG 102 class’ drafts of their first paper. Thursday night we looked at Dr. Smith's course blog and each chose two of his students to respond to. The ENG 102 students will be posting draft essays Monday the 22nd. So you need to respond to your assigned students between Monday around noon (the time their paper draft should appear) and Tuesday night at 5:45. I will be available through email to answer your questions during this time, except for when I sleep at night (a serious commitment I made long ago). Also, keep your eye on this blog for updates. (I will be in various locations over the course of Monday and Tuesday and not always with access to the blog, but certainly with constant access to my Blackberry and therefore my email. So email will be the best way to get in touch quickly if you have a problem or question while looking a the writer's draft.)

How to Respond:

FIRST, read the entire draft/post.

SECOND, look for the ONE thing you like best about the draft, or (if nothing is great) whatever area you think has great potential. Then decide on the ONE higher order concern you would like to see the writer work on. You might also think about whether there is an area of the draft you'd like to hear more about. Find it and ask the writer some leading questions to generate more writing. This could be an especially useful strategy if the draft is perfect and there are no concerns (an unlikely scenario, but one can dream...). Give your response tremendous thought. The writer is going to take your advice seriously and what you say can really effect the next step they will take with their paper.

THIRD, after you've finally decided how to focus your response, enter your feedback into the writer's blog, starting with what you like best, then following with an acknowledgement and explanation of the ONE higher order concern you would like to see him/her work on. Just post as yourself, a fellow student, in a friendly manner, NOT as an authority figure or someone who is ABOVE them. Remember, good tutoring is non-hierarchical and student-centered.

FOURTH, go back to your own blog and write an entry entitled, “Why I said what I said to (insert name of student here).” In this post, reflect on what you said to the writer and describe the process of how you arrived at your choice of the higher order concern on which to focus. Since you have two writers to respond to, you will be making two entries--one for each.

Good Luck! …and have fun! Remember, this is our first time doing this. We are still learning, so don't freak out if it's difficult.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Welcome to ENG 220 in the blogosphere

Hello Potential Tutors,

As you know, we will be blogging about our readings and experiences in ENG 220 this semester. We will also be responding to the on-line writing of students from other classes, who we will link to through our blogs. These activities will be part of launching LaGuardia's new project "Learning Networks," where students from a variety of courses will be linked and able to respond to each other's work through the world-wide web.

Keep your eyes on this course blog for updates.

That's all for now!

Professor KG