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Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps College Writers. Fall Orientation Workshop, August 17, 2004. The Idea of a Writing Center (Stephen M. North). NOT: a fix-it shop a proofreading or editing service a remedial skill and drill laboratory

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Consulting, not Proofreading:How the Writing Center Helps College Writers

Fall Orientation Workshop, August 17, 2004


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The Idea of a Writing Center(Stephen M. North)

NOT:

  • a fix-it shop

  • a proofreading or editing service

  • a remedial skill and drill laboratory

  • a form of classroom instruction

  • a guaranteed remedy for errors or poor papers

Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps


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The Past (Peter Carino)

  • Classroom workshops (1900 – 1930s): Method, not Site

  • Writing Clinics (1940s – 1950s): Armed Forces English, Diagnostic Sites

  • Writing Labs (1970s – 1980s): Open Admissions, Remedial Sites

  • Isolated cubicles, workbooks, headphones, grammar exercises and drills

Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps


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The Present (1980s – Now)

Writing

CENTERS

  • Writers can talk about their writing

  • Consultants (tutors) offer face-to-face verbal feedback

  • Students set the agenda for consultation on their writing sample

  • Neither grades nor instructors are discussed

  • Students practice composition and revision aloud

  • Goal is not better writing, but better writers

A supportive environment where:

Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps


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Student Services: What We Do to Help College Writers

  • Provide 20 min. of tutoring (30 min. if not crowded)

  • Help with any stage of the writing process:

    • Topic selection

    • Audience considerations (tone)

    • Strategies for persuasion, logic, organization

    • Research and source citations

    • Page Layout and formatting (MLA, APA)

    • Coherence of sentences and word choices, 1 page max

  • Model revision habits for students to apply on their own (Clark & Healy)

  • Ask students to identify weaknesses and how to improve (Brooks)

  • Suggest ways to make the paper fit instructor specifications

  • Refer students to resources in print or online for further practice

Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps


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Bibliography

  • Brooks, Jeff. “Minimalist Tutoring: Making the Student Do All the Work.” Writing Lab Newsletter 15.6 (1991): 1-4.

  • Carino, Peter. “Early Writing Centers: Toward a History.” The Writing Center Journal 15.2 (1995): 103-15.

  • Clark, Irene L. and Dave Healy. “Are Writing Centers Ethical?” WPA: Writing Program Administration 20 ½ (1996): 32-38.

  • Harris, Muriel. “Solutions and Trade-Offs in Writing Center Administration.” The Writing Center Journal 12.1 (1991): 63-79.

  • North, Stephen M. “The Idea of a Writing Center.” College English 46 (1984): 433-46.

Consulting, not Proofreading: How the Writing Center Helps


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