Monday, March 24, 2008


After reading the essays for Monday's class, I have mixed feelings. Both of the essays had their ups and downs for me, and I was left with a general feeling of ambiguity.

Concerning the first article, I thought most of the ideas North had were pretty dead on. The writing center is not designed to be a fix-it shop or a grammar hotline; however, aside from some uninformed students, I was not aware that many professors thought it was. I know that this essay was written at a different time (because my co-worker Nikki explained that to me), and perhaps that makes a difference. Either way, I found it hard to take the essay to heart because I don't view the writing center as an editing shop.

As for the second essay, I'm not sure entirely where I stand. On the one hand, I unfortunately find myself agreeing with North that many students are not going to be enthusiastic about becoming a better writer because their major does not require them to be one. For some students (more than I would like to admit), passing a required English class is just another task on their to do list, and they do not put much thought into what they learn by accomplishing that task. However, I don't think that writing centers should be limited to English students alone. I think part of the job as a tutor (and as a professor) is to show students how understanding writing can be used in their world. For example, although many students may only write one rhetorical analysis in their life, understanding the concepts at play behind the writing will help them view commercials, ads, news stories, articles, etc in a new, informed light. I know that after learning about rhetoric and seeing examples of it everywhere, I became more aware of just how many people use rhetoric to affect my perceptions of the products I buy and the stories I read. In addition to this, I feel that limiting the writing center to English majors would eliminate a great deal of clients. ESL students, for example, would not be able to visit the writing center unless their major was English, and many of them visit the center regularly. Also, I feel that many students who major in English are not really taught about the writing center or do not see visiting it as necessary (something professors should be addressing), and therefore trying to make the writing center for them may cause initial conflict proving that writing centers deserve money to remain in operation. Until English majors learn to use the writing center, numbers would probably go down. All and all, I think that making the writing center closed to the general areas of studies would be a bad idea. I do think North brings to light interesting points, however, as to whether tutors are doing their jobs as motivators.

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