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The First Ten Minutes:

The First Ten Minutes:

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The First Ten Minutes:

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  1. The First Ten Minutes: Eric Klinger University of Colorado-Boulder How Initial Conversation and Active Listening Shapes the Session

  2. Common Ground “Effective teachers form relationships that are trustful, open and secure, that involve a minimum of control, are cooperative, and are conducted in a reciprocal and interactive manner” -Richard G. Tiberius, Psychologist and Learning Theorist

  3. Not-so-Shared Assumptions • “Better writers, not better writing”-North’s paradox • Student expectations • Immediacy and risk aversion • Unspoken best practices • Global vs. Local concerns • Reading silently (or loudly) • Instruction (not editing)

  4. What We (sometimes) Know • Type of writing project • Course and instructor • Time before deadline • Specific concerns • Meeting Assignment Objectives • Logic and Idea Flow • Reader Reaction • English fluency • Using and Citing Evidence • Sentence Style and Clarity • Grammar and Mechanics

  5. What We Don’t Know The Writer’s • Process • Expectations of the Writing Center • Individual struggles and needs • Experience with writing instruction

  6. Getting Oriented • An occasion to talk about writing • Resist immediately focusing on the paper in favor of the writer • Ask questions that help you to understand how the student • Approaches writing • Views the purpose of a session • Perceives his/her strengths and struggles as a writer

  7. The Paper • Take a few minutes to look at the writer’s draft silently • This gives you essential time to begin prioritizing needs and establishing a realistic agenda for the session • Ask the writer to work on something while you’re reading (glossing, locating something in a handbook, noting difficult passages, etc.)

  8. Your Approach • It’s not only good practice to discuss how you’ll approach tutoring the writer, it’s unethical not to • Discuss the benefits and limitations of a 50-minute session • Consider sharing some of your own challenges and struggles as a writer—good writing is never easy

  9. Negotiating the Agenda The agenda should be explicit and shared to develop the writer’s trust and engagement • Describe what you’ve identified as global and local concerns in the paper • Suggest what you would prioritize “if it were me” • Ask the writer how this fits with his/her concerns • Ask the writer to create an agenda for the session

  10. Establishing Trust with Active Listening • Dedicate your full attention to the writer when he/she speaks • Keep a friendly but objective demeanor • Even when your opinion differs, keep listening and don’t become distracted planning a response • Ask questions to clarify the writer’s meaning and intentions • Respond with eye contact and non-judgmental feedback to the writer’s concerns • Use the readership/audience as the mediators for presenting choices and opportunities to the writer

  11. Planting the Seed • The most valuable and rewarding sessions are often with writers who return multiple times • This is especially true for writers with significant writing challenges • Encourage the writer to think of this session as the first day of class—it works best if you come back for more

  12. References Gillespie, P. and Neal Learner. (2008). The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring, 2nd Ed. Boston: Pearson Longman. Macauley Jr., W.J. (2005) “Setting the Agenda for the Next Thirty Minutes.” A Tutor’s Guide: Helping Writers One to One, 2nd Ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. McAndrew, D.A., and Thomas Reigstad. (2001). Tutoring Writing: A Practical Guide for Conferencing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Murphy, C, and Steve Sherwood, eds. (2008). The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. Boston: Bedford. Ryan, L, and Lisa Zimmerelli. (2006). The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors, 4th Ed. Boston: Bedford.