Tutoring WritingFall 2010Week 3.1 Overview of The Everyday Writing Center Chapter 4-Chapter 6
What is a community of practice? “A viable community of practice, he (Etienne Wenger) tells us, consists of a group of diverse people who make meaning together by sharing their experiences and who learn from one another so that no one is expected to know everything about the practice.” What does this mean for writing center work?
Love the questions!/Love the questions? The authors begin Chapter 4, “Origami, Anyone? Tutors as Learners,” with a quotation from Maxine Greene: “Since there are no final agreements, teachers and students should simply learn to love the questions.” What do you think of this in the context of writing center work? How is it helpful? Unhelpful?
Learning: Constructed and Received They distinguish between “a learning culture,” and “the Industrial-age model.” Have you experienced or observed examples of each in your experience as student/teacher/teacher-in-training? If so, please share. What problems does the learning culture they advocate pose?* What benefits does the Industrial model present?* *See Steve’s post on our blog.
Diversity and staffing Megan’s question from last week- How to determine who will make a good tutor? How to recruit diverse staff? How to create an environment that attracts and keeps a diverse population ?
Diversity The authors emphasize the value of diversity. Consider what unique skills/experiences/questions/values you could bring to writing center work.
What should writing centers look like? Physical space Virtual space Other promotional material
Approaches to tutor education Cultivate confusion: “An overdetermined sense of teacher authority, Kameen argues, leads to a transmission-of-knowledge model that displaces the possibility of mutual learning” (59). Build on what tutors know: paper making, video projects, knitting, etc. Tutors as writers
Deficient model of tutor training What problems does this model pose?
Tutors as writers “We believe that tutors working from what they know (and don’t know) as writers may be the ones most ready to encourage other writers to take responsibility” (80). Benefits of this approach: Drawbacks:
Tutoring, Writing, Agency “As tutors write the interconnectedness of their lives outside and inside the writing center, consider and critique the writing they and their peers are asked to do in class, and produce texts from within the center itself, they are not simply writers reenacting the roles others have scripted” (86).
Anti-Racism Work and Writing Center Practice “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” (James Baldwin, quoted in The Everyday Writing Center 87) How does this quotation relate to the rest of Chapter 6?
Krista- Why did she leave the writing center? How might writing centers avoid this type of problem?
“A hopeful, participatory model of education” (90). What does this mean?
Mistakes What mistakes might we make as we engage in anti-racism work? How might fear of mistakes hinder anti-racism work and other writing center work?
Manifestations of racism On page 93, the authors write: “The manifestations of racism have changed over time, moving from legalized and highly explicit forms …to current masked or coded racism deeply entrenched in institutional logics, structures, and systems.” What do they mean? Have you observed examples of this? Can you cite them?
Anti-racism and writing center work Should writing center work be anti-racism work? Why? How can writing center work be anti-racism work? Please consider this both conceptually (by which I mean in terms of the overall mission of writing centers) and consider this functionally (by which I mean in terms of day to day practices).
Tutor training and attention to race The problem: most tutoring resources put race in the same category as learning disabilities/differences, which reifies “white culture” as the norm. Solutions: make mistakes, use multicultural material in training, value language diversity, involve tutors in creation of training material.