Writing Center Scholarship

Another version of “What a Writing Center Is–and Isn’t” . . . is that what we read for today? Well, yes and no. How would you describe the differences between them? How do you think knowing the history of writing centers and the growth of writing center scholarship helps you with tutoring and mentoring writing?

That’s what we’ll talk about today.

This second chapter of the Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors covers a lot of ground! In short order the authors mention:

  • What writing centers could be
  • What writing center tutors could be
  • Values writing tutors share
  • The history of writing instruction in American colleges
  • The growth of writing center scholarship

So after discussing what we commonplaced and your reactions to it–now a daily occurrence, I hope!–we’ll move toward that question. Get in groups (quickly) with people around you and compare commonplace entries. Or the notes you took in the reading for today (pp. 13-27). What places stood out to you? Which seemed debatable or strange, or right on the money?

Then, as a group, isolate one thing that came up in the reading and answer this question of it:

After you’ve found some quotation or passage that stands out to you all, how do you connect it to your internship? That is, how does this idea or quote help you in understanding writing centers, writing center practice, strategies for working one-on-one, or our growing knowledge of the writing process? Make some connections and present them to the class.

Then we’ll spend the rest of the time in group workshop! The goal of this should be that each of us walks away with some feedback we can use in writing this first paper. (Which is a goal of writing tutoring as well . . .)

After I say a few words about the assignment itself, we’ll make a quick list of the terms, ideas, and concepts that we’ve read so far in this class–just as a way of thinking through options. I may say a few words about what “analysis” is in this context, and what your goal should be when you connect your experience to a term or theory analytically.

Then we’ll organize into groups of four “Either”s and four “Or”s: that is, four people who want to talk about a time they tutored; four people discussing a time they were tutored. Perhaps take turns talking through your ideas or sharing your work? Read and comment? Focus on what seems to be going well, or not so well? We’l have a brief debrief at the end.

Go to it!


Hey! I'm a professor of Rhetoric and Writing in the English dept. at Chico State. Also disc golf player, indie music listener, and vanilla Marxist.

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