Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brooks vs. Shamoon & Burns

First of all, let me just say that I really liked the comment Brooks made concerning students who come to the WC expecting an editing session: "They know you know how to fix their paper, and that is what they have come for... don't underestimate the abilities of these students; they will fatigue you into submission" (172). Sneaky little boogers. Aside from that comment, I felt the essay was incredibly similar to North's first essay, just with less anger.

I was a little disappointed with the other essay we read by Shamoon and Burns (although I have to say I like her name). Normally I like playing devil's advocate, so I was excited (as excited as one can be to do homework anyway) to read an essay taking the opposite stance of the norm. However, I didn't agree with much of what they said concerning directive tutoring. I do believe that directive tutoring is an affective method for some students. For example, many of the writing students they discussed in their essay are students who are already enthused about writing and plan on making it a part of their career and life for a very long time. Thus, learning by imitation motivates them to become better writers and allows them to see how to do so. However, I feel that the majority of students who use the writing center are not these same motivated writers. Many students are taking one of the last English classes that will ever be required of them, and they are not always as intrigued by writing techniques as I would hope. Therefore, correcting their paper for them may not motivate them to learn as much as it will give them satisfaction of a quick fix. In addition, many of the examples of directive tutoring that Shamoon and Burns talk about (master classes, studio, thesis advising, etc) are not peer tutored. They are sessions taught by professors and teachers, so where does that leave the WC's that hire undergraduate students? Would undergraduate students be qualified enough to change wording and edit papers? I'm not trying to destroy directive tutoring all together; I think it has its place. I feel there are students that do benefit from a tutor pointing out a mistake and showing the student how to fix it (I often do this the first few times I find that an ESL student has a repeated mistake). In general, however, I think the tutor needs to assess how the student will learn best and incorporate the necessary tutoring methods accordingly.

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