Resources for Tutors
To the future generations of Eberly writing tutors: these sources will help you with your class projects and with tutoring questions and concerns. Under each link, there is an annotation from a tutor explaining what he or she found illuminating about each site. We hope you find these beneficial.
Dickinson College Tutor Handbook
Journals and Blogs
The Writing Lab Newsletter
The Writing Center Journal
Praxis: A Writing Center Journal
The Dangling Modifier
Tutoring Essays and Tips
Advice to Tutors (Dartmouth College)
This really helpful site from Dartmouth covers everything from how to open a session to uncooperative students to controlling the pace of a session. C.H.
Becoming Visible: Tutors Discuss Reading and Listening to Student Papers. (The Writing Lab Newsletter)
Reading or listening to the student's paper is an important step in a conference. This article provides you with many useful strategies like building a conversation with the writer to ensure your understanding of the paper, taking notes while reading to keep track of your comments and questions, and rereading when necessary. X.Z.
Bridging Cultural Gaps (Lynchburg College)
The fact that everyone writes differently is especially true for students coming from different countries and cultures with diverse languages and communication methods. Because of this diversity, it is important to understand how to bridge cultural gaps in writing when working with different kinds of writers. This site explains some challenges and provided various solutions and techniques to work with writers from different backgrounds. J.W.
Changing Attitudes: Writing Center Workshops in the Classroom (Praxis Writing Center Journal)
While much of our work takes place in the Writing Center, the job of a Writing Associate extends outside of the center and into the classroom. Here is a great article discussing the ever-changing and even essential role that a classroom Writing Associate -and the Writing Center in extension - can have on the classroom writing process. The author, Holly Ryan, also offers some great ideas for ways to facilitate a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship between the WA and the classroom professor. R.W.
English as a Second Language (Dartmouth College)
Are you having troubles tutoring second language writers (ESL writers)? Are you frustrated when there are only a few minutes left, but every sentence in the paper needs to be fixed? This website could help you deal with those problems. It explains important conventions and rhetorical patterns, helps you to understand ESL writers' problems, and shows you what to do. The site also includes a list of the most frequently seen grammar problems in ESL writers' papers, from the problems of articles and prepositions to the touchy one of "we just don't say it that way here." X.Z.
Flexing Nonverbal Muscles: The Role of Body Language in the Writing Center
(Writing Lab Newsletter)
This "Tutor's Column" from the Writing Lab Newspaper explores how our bodies can work against the tutor in peer-to-peer sessions.
Good Writing (University of North Carolina)
The purpose of the writing center is to make good writers, not good writing. But does that necessarily mean that tutors should be blind to what actually constitutes good writing? Good writers should be able to produce good writing. Why not learn what that entails? N.C.
My First Session (PeerCentered)
Tutors-in-training anticipate and dread their first solo session in the writing center. They wonder what to expect and worry about how much they will actually help a student, both normal and typical sentiments. This blog post gives trainees a realistic look into the "first day at the office," relating a tutor's process during a session and her feelings about its good and bad results. J.D.
Nonverbal Communication (University of Delaware)
"It's not what you say. It's how you sit when you say it." The way you carry and handle yourself as a tutor says a lot about how you feel about the paper, the student, and being a tutor. Considering that 70% of intrapersonal communication is nonverbal, this article is worth a look. G.M.
Responding to Problems: A Facilitative Approach (Dartmouth College)
Once a writing issue has been diagnosed, it can be difficult to articulate the problem with the writer in a way that ensures that both paper and writer can advance. This site outlines four types of responses: facilitative, directive, corrective, and evaluative. The author explains when to use each of them in a constructive manner. M.N.
Structure (Dartmouth College)
How do you help a writer who is trying to cram her ideas into a five-paragraph essay format? Or one who can't seem to organize her great ideas at all? This site provides tutors with tips for diagnosing the root of disorganization in an essay. It also demonstrates how to integrate techniques like outlining, diagramming, and talking into a tutoring session in order to help a writer structure her paper more effectively. M.K.N.
Teaching Others to Peer Edit (Agnes Scott College)
Peer editing is a skill that requires careful examination. Here is an overview of peer editing with helpful questions to use during a session. F.A.
Ten Tips for ESL Tutorials (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Working with ESL writers can be a challenging, yet rewarding process that requires a different sort of approach. This site offers tutors advice on how to focus on higher-order concerns without getting bogged down in language errors. These simple strategies an help create a more successful session for both tutor and writer. M.K.N.
Ten Tips for Starting a Tutoring Session (SUNY Brockport)
This link provides advice on how to begin a new session in a way that will create a positive first impression and welcoming atmosphere for an unfamiliar student. While some of the tips are central to the writing center that provided this handout, others can be universally applied and will set the ground for a positive and productive session. L.H.
Tough Tutoring Situations (University of Richmond)
Every tutor dreads having a session with a student who is uncooperative or unresponsive. The University of Richmond provides numerous videos dealing with a wide variety of potentially difficult scenarios, ranging from working with ESL (English as a Second Language) students to tutoring an angry writer. C.B.
Tutoring a Medical School Personal Statement (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)
Do you need to tutor a personal statement but have no clue where to begin? Get the basics on writing a statement for medical school here! With tips on helping the writer form a theme and cutting out the boring stuff, your writer will be enrolled in no time! M.C.K.
Tutoring Creative Writing Students
Providing feedback for someone's creative work can be tricky. This site describes the common pitfalls of beginning creative writers (such as relying on cliches or being sentimental about subject matter) and provides advice for offering critiques gently and pointing writers in new directions with their work. L.H.
Tutoring a Resume (Purdue University)
What do you do when a senior who is on the job market wants you to make sure that he has an effective resume? Do you know what a good resume looks like? Purdue University is here to help. Check out this informative PowerPoint to figure out what you should look for in a resume and how to make sure a potential employer looks twice at a candidate. This website won't just help your tutees; you can glean a lot of information from this site as well. Happy job hunting! C.H.
Understanding and Assisting Students with Learning Disabilities (UCLA)
Despite common belief, students with learning disabilities have average to high intelligence levels, but they struggle to reflect the information that they possess. LD students have particular difficulty in writing because of the trouble they face when it comes to organizing ideas and other technical tasks, like spelling. This article from UCLA's tutor handbook is a must read to help tutors understand learning disabilities and learn strategies to use during tutoring sessions. F.A.
Using Peer Review to Help Students Improve Their Writing
This website introduces various strategies that tutors could use in order to present themselves as a peer, not as an editor. In addition to providing tutors with specific techniques to improve their method of teaching, the site also explains possible student responses to the collaborative learning process. A.F.
Ways to Read Student Papers - (Dartmouth University)
It is crucial for writing tutors to have solid reading skills. This article provides various tips and techniques to help tutors become thoughtful and observant readers who can comprehend a paper's meaning and efficiently formulate critical responses to any issues. Check out this article to improve your reading skills and to create more productive tutoring sessions! E.S.
We're All Basic Writers: Tutors Talking about Writing Apprehension (University of Delaware)
Apprehension apparently can be a good thing after all. This article explains how a little writing apprehension in tutors can actually help them relate to and gain trust from the writers coming to the writing center for advice. J.C
Where I'm Supposed to Be (PeerCentered)
How do new tutors handle those last minute jitters? For all of us worrying about that one question whose answer seems to be elusive, or questioning our right to tutor our peers, here is a great article about another tutor's journey down the road of self-doubt finally -- a journey that ends in newfound confidence and, ultimately, a career as an elementary school teacher. R.W.
Working with Creative Writing Students: Tutoring Beginning Poets & Fiction Writers
Creative writing differs from analytic writing and, therefore, requires different tutoring tactics. Purdue has created a concise powerpoint analyzing both budding creative writers and their poetry or fiction. The site explains several common issues and then offers some tutoring tips. M.N.
Working with LD Students (Lynchburg College)
Tutors encounter many different kinds of writers while working in the writing center, and it is important to recognize that not all students think and learn in the same way. This brief article offers a variety of tips on how to interact with and assist students with learning disabilities of all kinds. While this page does not deal extensively with any particular kind of learning disability, it does give valuable suggestions (especially for newer tutors.) E.B
"Writing from the Tips of Our Tongues: Writers, Tutors, and Talk"
Wendy Bishop examines different methods for effective discussion. She also considers the importance of voices: yours, the writer's, and how they both play into a good writing center session. G.M.
Writing Lab Tutors: Hidden Messages That Matter (University of Delaware)
In the writing center, nonverbal communication can be just as important, if not more so, than verbal. This column details the influence of nonverbal communication and its importance in the writing center. It covers all categories, from personal space to the clothing color, and offers new strategies for approaching writers in order to make them more comfortable and receptive to constructive criticism. J.C