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  1. Building it Together: Using Undergraduate Research to Construct Training for Literacy Volunteers Jennifer Follett, Associate Director, LWC Peer Consultants: Kristin Beckert Jacob Goodwin Paul McGuigan Liza Schreiner We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness. --ThichNhatHanh

  2. Loyola's Center for Community Service and Justice CCSJ engages students and the broader Loyola community in education through service for a just and equitable world. We are committed to collaboration with community partners and to involvement with people who are marginalized, especially those who are materially poor. Our work is inspired by, and flows from, the Jesuit Catholic educational mission at Loyola that calls for a dynamic integration of academic excellence, social responsibility and faith that serves justice. • service-learning • Justice and social change • Spirituality/personal growth

  3. CCSJ’s Community Partners(some examples) • The Caroline Center: assists unemployed and underemployed women “acquire skill necessary to “find work in a career with potential for . . . growth.” • “Learn to Earn” Program at the St. Ambrose Center: Helps unemployed and underemployed find and retain jobs through adult basic education, GED prep. • The Esperanza Center: ESL program, employment placement and healthcare services for Latino/Latina immigrants. • Refugee Youth Project: after school/summer program for refugee students ages 6t-21, held at BCCC • The Ark: a pre-school program for children who are currently homeless, emphasizing language and social skills. • Cristo Rey Jesuit High School: a college-prep/work-study high school for low-income students in Baltimore City. • Mother Seton Academy: A tuition-free, Catholic middle school for both boys and girls

  4. The Loyola Writing Center • Current iteration founded 2002 • Senior staff: 3 faculty from writing department • 5 Graduate writing consultants • 15-20 undergraduate writing consultants From LWC website ( The Loyola Writing Center supports Loyola College students, faculty and staff striving for the Jesuit ideal of eloquentia perfecta—not only the literal “perfect eloquence” in correct speech and writing, but also communication which is perfect for the task of acting on the human spirit towards good and just action. In the Jesuit tradition of working with others to reach a common goal, the Loyola Writing Center offers individual consulting on writing-in-progress for the entire Loyola community of writers, including undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. All types of writing are welcome, including academic work from any disciplines and self-sponsored writing.

  5. WR 323: Writing Center Theory and Practice 3 credit course offered through the Writing Department Students explore the theory and practice of writing center peer consulting through reading about current issues in writing center research, writing assignments, class discussions and activities, and by observing and participating in writing center consultations. Action-research is a key component of the course. Previous WR 323 classes have included projects like: Examination of student perceptions of the Writing Center, with a goal of developing publicity materials Design of the physical space of writing centers (including FengShuianalysis)—the basis for our current layout Design of web-resources /handouts to support student use of Loyola’scustomized A Writer’s Reference

  6. Action Research Project: Tutor Training for CCSJ A large part of what writing centers do involves action research--often with the purpose of finding ways to help our writing centers better reach the populations it serves, or to contribute to some kind of social change. Sometimes, action research in writing centers is done in partnership with (or at the behest of) other departments or organizations within the university. We’ve been asked by CCSJ to design a training program for their volunteer tutors who are working with organizations that do some writing/reading/literacy work. We’ll complete this project through a series of steps: 1.) Profile the CCSJ-partner programs we will be helping serve 2.) Assemble a bibliography of sources about tutoring programs and writing center collaborations with service organizations 3.) Review an article from an academic journal that you found especially helpful 4.) Interview administrators and volunteers from these community organizations 5.) Using the findings from both your primary and secondary research, write a proposal for a training program 6.) Write a short essay reflecting on the whole experience

  7. Helpful Sources: A Sampling WR 323 researchers’ bibliographies included sources that: Helped the researchers conceptualize a tutor training program, and the ideas that may be important to address We may want to make available to CCSJ volunteer tutors

  8. Sources for Designing A Training Program Bornstein, Jodi. “Challenging College Students’ Assumptions about Community Service Tutoring.” Equity and Excellence in Education. 1993. Harris, Muriel. “Cultural Conflicts in the Writing Center: Expectations and Assumptions of ESL Students.” Writing in Multicultural Settings. Lytle, Susan. “Living Literacy: Rethinking Development in Adulthood.” Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Focus on literacy/learning from a cultural context—address issues of diversity, marginalization, contextualized learning, and the implicit links between literacy practices and cultural values. Also helpful for understanding Loyola students’ possible attitudes/assumptions and in considering reflection/discussion prompts for prospective/new volunteers. “Tutor Training.” Learning Support Center at Paradise Valley Community College. An outline of a tutor training program for college student volunteers.

  9. Resources for CCSJ Volunteers • Jeff Brooks “Minimalist Tutoring: Making the Student do All the Work” • Amy Jo Minett “’Earth Aches by Moonlight’ Helping ESL Writers Clarify Their Intended Meaning” & • Ben Rafoth “Trying to Explain English” from ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Centers • Isserlis, Janet. “Adult Academy Tutor Training Manual.” • Developed for VISTA volunteers working in an adult literacy tutoring program. • www.Tutorfi.Com • A tips blog created by teachers with tutoring and discipline strategies for working with children K-12.

  10. Interviews WR 323 researchers interviewed Loyola student volunteers, student service-site coordinators, and administrative staff from community partner organizations. A few themes emerged among the interview responses: 1.) Content knowledge (GED information, foreign language, etc) is less important for volunteer tutors than strategies for supporting learning. “Knowing more Spanish does not necessarily help . . . It becomes a crutch for our students.” Diana Seimer, Director, Esperanza tutoring program “It wasn’t about my math skills, but my willingness to work through the problems with the students, and be there with them as they tried to get a certificate that I had earned without question.” Lizzie McQuillan, volunteer

  11. Interviews, cont. 2.) Tutors should be prepared to encounter issues of cultural, economic and ethnic marginalization, and to confront their own history of privilege. “These women have bee failed by the school system in many cases, and now struggle from welfare check to welfare check . . . For most Loyola students, issues of poverty are nothing they have experienced or will experience, so it’s important to talk about how to respond to it.” Siobhan Watson, Caroline Center volunteer (and Writing Center peer consultant) 3.) In programs for children, volunteers need help with small-group or classroom management strategies. “When desks were in clusters, the kids got pretty unfocused; they were too busy “learning” about each other rather than learning about what we were putting on the board. . .I learned how hard it is to discipline even young kids.” Heather Barton, Guilford Elementary School volunteer

  12. Student research/presentations: 1.) Supported importance of examination of multicultural/diversity issues as they pertain to literacy/learning 2.) Encouraged active participatory training 3.) Seemed inclined to fewer required training pieces 4.) Emphasized practice/pragmatics over theory in choosing material to include in training seminars 5.) Highlighted the role of student service-coordinators

  13. Proposed Training/Support Program:The Results of Our Negotiations Pre-service Training Seminar: Tutoring Basics: what does a tutoring session look like? (2 hr) Establishing rapport, how to support learning without “over-teaching,” setting goals together, closing a session. Will include presentation from writing center staff, role-playing and small group discussion with experienced tutors/writing center staff. Pre or During Service Training Seminars: Tutoring in a multicultural setting (1 hr) How cultural identities affect assumptions about learning, communication, language. How to facilitate cross-cultural communication. Inventorying our own cultural identities. Will include presentation from writing center staff and/or other faculty/administrators involved with diversity support, role playing, small group discussion and reflection. Strategies for working with different learning styles (1 hr) Introduction to visual, auditory, kinesthetic, global/analytic learning styles. Requires participants to complete a quick (10-20 minute) online learning style inventory before the session. Will include presentation from writing center staff, small group discussion/problem solving, reflection.

  14. Proposal Cont. Pre or During Service Training Seminars: Special Topic (to be co-facilitated with Dr. Scott Follett): Tutoring in Math and Science(1 hr) Methods for effectively supporting learners with mathematics and science. Will include presentation from Mathematics/Science faculty, small group discussion/problem solving. Blackboard support:useful articles and other resources, discussion boards—the writing center/CCSJ student site coordinators will maintain a central website instead of organization-specific websites. Tutor-buddies:linking writing center staff and CCSJ tutors  Volunteer tutors will have the option to be paired (or grouped) with a writing center undergraduate consultant or consultant-in-training to periodically exchange reflections on their tutoring experiences, share ideas, ask for advice, compare experiences, techniques, etc.

  15. Reflections:WR 323 Researchers' New competencies and processes in conducting research—discovering new methods, new sources, new purposes Insights into the application of writing center-based research outside writing centers New perspectives on our own peer-consulting context—the benefits in having comprehensive preparation before beginning to tutor Deeper awareness of issues of marginalization, creating and maintaining sustainable service programs Gratification in “college work” going beyond the classroom—the responsibilities this entails, new identities as academics

  16. Reflections:The Director/Instructor's The theory/practice divide . . .led to inclusion in the WR 323 curriculum of further explicit discussion of the purposes of studying both theory & practice, Freire’s concept of praxis A balancing act: due dates vs. usable, responsible research Follow through—how to facilitate the efforts of and compensate students who continue research beyond the semester The connection to other on-campus tutoring programs—how can we use this collaboration to create stronger relationships to tutoring programs sponsored by the Athletics Department and Academic Advising and Support Services?

  17. Brainstorming and Discussion Activity • What partnerships with other university departments or community organizations has your writing center formed? What has made such partnerships successful? What have been some challenges you’ve faced in forming or maintaining partnerships? • What further university departments or organizations are you aware of that have similar goals, values or interests as your writing center? What kinds of partnered projects can you imagine pursuing? • How would you describe the strengths, interests and talents of your undergraduate staff? How could you use those strengths, interests and talents to support existing or future partnerships? • What might be some challenges to incorporating undergraduate efforts or research into partnership projects? What will your writing center need to do to support undergraduate contributions?

  18. Questions? Loyola Writing Center 410-617-5415 Associate Director, Jennifer Follett