Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Bedford Guide vs. Phil

I realized today that I have not blogged about the BG yet, so (yet & so together?? grammar snob...can I do that?) I thought that I would take this opportunity to do so. First of all, my brief opinion about the book in general: I think that it does have a lot of helpful points, and I see a definite parallel between this book and my tutor training packet for the WC. As far as the situations it presents, however, I agree that they are very "Stepford-ish" (aka ideal). The writers in this handbook tend to assume that most students come prepared and ready to learn, and I'm not saying the opposite, but I think a lot of students come at a point in the process where they need some motivation (some because they can't seem to get started and others because they are simply "over" their paper).

Phil on the other hand, taught me a lot today in class. I got to be the client (which was extremely amusing for me), and Phil was put on the spot as my tutor. First of all, I think he was pretty calm and collected being critiqued by the class and I admire that. Secondly and most importantly though, he dealt with situations that arise in sessions that Bedford conveniently leaves out. Phil read me as a person in order to make me comfortable. Bedford mentions that you should sit side by side and be friendly, but they don't mention that you should somewhat analyze the client to see how to best relate to them. For example, Phil caught on to the way I think (a task all it's own) and tried to gear his questions toward my learning style. I like math and watching tv, so he related his examples to those things to help me understand. He also encouraged me time and time again to take notes in order to remember what we talked about; some students need that encouragement, otherwise they will just sit back and tune out. Although we did not get through the entire paper, he kept rephrasing the process of revision (again semi-relating to math and formulas) that we were going through together so that I could later apply it on my own.

Sure there were some aspects that Phil could have improved on, but I learned from those as well. By adapting to not-so-Stepford situations, he gave me a real example that I can relate to as a tutor when inconvenient issues arise in sessions. Bedford is good, but I'd take Phil any day :)

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