Writing Content before mechanical error

The job of a writing tutor is simply helping the writer in any writing aspect, from developing ideas to giving feedbacks. There are many different theories and practices that the tutor could use to improve the tutorial experience. After observing different tutorial sessions, both as a tutee and an observer, I was able to find one approach that could improve the effectiveness of the tutorial session. In any tutorial sessions, the tutor should focus on the writing first,then help the writer to correct his mechanical errors if needed.

In order to develop this theory, I observed three different tutorial sessions. I was the tutee in one sessions and the observer in two other sessions. Two of the sessions was scheduled in the writing center, and one was scheduled privately. After observing these three sessions, I took notes of the methods that each tutors used to tutor the writer. For one of the observation, i observed a private tutoring session outside of class. During the session, there were a few things that i noticed. First, the tutor immediately corrected any errors that he found while reading the paper. The next observation, i saw a similar approach. The tutor corrected all the mechanical mistakes while reading the paper. Second, the two tutor also gave the correct grammar and punctuation and gave a brief explanations of why it was wrong. Finally, the tutor answered the writer’s concerns. In the end, it seems that these two tutor prioritize mechanical errors over contents.

The third tutor, however, used a different method. While reading the paper, the tutor circled any mechanical errors .Then, he gave some feedbacks about the papers and answered any concerns from the writers. Although one of the writer’s concern was grammar errors, the tutor focused on others problems before grammar errors. Finally after address all the writer’s concern, the asked the writer about these mechanical errors that he circled in the beginning. I noticed that the tutor only explained the errors if the writer did not know the reasons. Out of the three tutor, i found that the third tutor had the best method to help the writer with his papers. This tutor first focused on the writing contents and any questions from the writer, then he worked with the writer to help the writer learned his errors.

Why isn’t the first method that the two tutors used recommended in the tutorial session? In Writing as a Social Process: A Theoretical Foundation For Writing Center, Lisa De strongly emphasizes that the false assumption of writing affected how writers view of the writing center. The writing center has been viewed as a place to fix any mechanical errors, composition problems and grammar. This assumption creates a problem, that writer will only go to the writing center to fix any mechanical problems. Since the writing needs to have some unique individual point of view, this assumes that the writing center will take away that ownership from the writer. In any case, this is false because the purpose of the writing center is not to take away the originality of the text. The writing center is established to help writers with the writing process, give feedback and correct any mechanical error. However, its priority should not be fixing errors, but to help writers in developing their writing skills. Writers that being tutored by any tutors who focused on mechanical errors could think that the writing center only concerns about enhancing errors instead of writing contents.

Why is is also important for the tutor to help the writer identify his own error, in both mechanical and content? It is important to understand that writing is a social act. In Writing and Collaboration by Kenneth Bruffee, we think writing is an individual act because we want our writing to be distinguish from others. Our writing needs to have some ownership and individuality to be able to persuade the audiences. This assumption is not entirely false,. The purpose of writing is to communicate with a specific audiences, but we cannot take away the identity of the paper. Bruffee also said that tutor cannot tell the writer how to write. Writing is a social act because the writer write for a community, not himself.  However, the writer came to a social setting primarily to ask for feedbacks about his writing, not for corrections. Also, the purpose of a tutorial session is for the writer to have a private setting for individual concern. Because each individual had a different style of writing, the tutor’s corrections can remove the original of the text. So the tutor should focus how to get the writer to fix his errors. This way the writer could identity the identical mistakes, and remember not to make the same mistake again.

In order to help the writer identify his own errors with minimum interference from the tutor, there are many different way to help the writer.The tutor should help the student to engage in conversation. In our everyday life, we talk to communicate with others people rather than write. When the writer are able to discuss about his paper, the tutor can further understand the writer better and give more feedback about the paper. Also, the tutor can let the writer read his own writing. For my own experience, i find more mistake when reading my paper out loud than reading in my head. As mention above, speaking is more natural to most of us, and by reading out loud we can hear our mistake easier

After the individual concern, the tutor can now focus on mechanical errors. If there is a pattern of errors in the writing, the tutor could point out once then let the writer find the same mistakes. For example, in one of my writing, the tutor noticed that i keep repeating the same grammar mistake. He pointed once, explain the error and let me fix that same mistake. Also, it is important for the tutor  to not immediately fix these mechanical errors while reading the paper. For the third tutorial session, i found that circling the errors rather than fixing it immediately is a better way. I observed that the writer was able to think about his own mistake than response to the tutor immediately.

It is very natural for writer to immediately correct the mistake that we saw. However, the tutor need to not correct any errors first hand but focuses on the writing content first. This way, the writer does not feel that mechanical errors are the primary problems. Although these errors can make the writing difficult to understand, the idea that the writer try to communicate is more important. Focusing on the content first can improve the writer’s writing, while letting him find his own errors can improve the writer’s ability to correct his paper by himself.

 

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Observation Brief Number 3

For the observation assignment, i had an opportunity to be a tutee for a tutorial sessions. The paper that i brought was a blog post for my writing class. The assignment was about how i related one of the tutoring concept into practice. My main concern about my paper was the teacher’s comment and mechanical errors.

At first, the tutor asked me about my need to have to the tutorial session. I expressed that the teacher wanted me to explain my example better, and there were some mechanical errors that make it hard to understand the context. After hearing the concerns, the tutor read the paper and marked any error he found while reading. At the same time, he corrected the errors by writing down the correct words and explained to me why. Afterward, he addressed the teacher’s concern. He explained that my example was very broad and i needed to narrow it down. By narrow the example, the tutor explained that the audience can understand the main ideas better.

After addressing all the concern, i asked some more question about the papers and as well as some tips about writing. The tutor was able to address my question very well. For example, one of my big concern in writing was putting a good example to back up my ideas. The tutor suggested to read some different paper, to see how others writer used his example to back up his writing.

Overall, the tutorial sessions was fairly successful. The tutor was able to address both the tutee’s concerns and the teacher’s comment. I was able to fix my paper and got some different writing tips and advises.

Observation Brief Number 2

For the Observation assignment, i had an opportunity to observe a tutorial session. For this session, my friend was a tutee and he was going to get tutored using my paper. The paper was about  my own experience with tutoring and how it shaped me as a writer.   and asked my friend to address the teacher’s comments on my paper. The teacher’s comment for this papers included the need to evaluate better examples and grammar errors.

After the tutor asked about any concern of the paper and my friends addressed the teacher’s comments, the tutor began to read the paper and circled anything errors he found while reading. After reading and marking the paper, he gave some feedback about the paper. He immediately address the teach’s comment because that was one of the priority concern. He commented that there were a repetition of ideas. For examples, there are two paragraphs that both express the same idea about the difficulty of translating Vietnamese in writing.  His suggestion for this problems is giving another example for the second paragraph. Since the first paragraph is more general, a specific example will help the audience to understand the idea.

After the first problem was addressed, the tutor then focused on grammar and punctuation errors. Looking at the mark that he circled earlier, the tutor then explained the errors to the tutee. Afterward, the tutee asked some questions that he concerned about the paper. For example, the tutee asked the tutor if the conclusion was effective. The tutor explained that the conclusion was effective, as it summed up the thesis of the paper very well.

Overall, the tutorial was very successful. The tutor was able to correct the teacher’s comments and the tutee’s concerns. Thanks to the comment from the tutor, the tutee was able to improve the paper.

Observation Briefs No.1

For observation number 1, i got an opportunity to observe a tutor session. My friend was working on her paper in LEAD 101. The topic of the paper was about her understanding of different speakers and their attitudes to be successful. Her papers was complete and she wanted the tutor to give an opinion about her paper.

In the beginning of the tutorial session, the tutor asked what was her concern about the paper and what did she want to focus on. She replied that she wanted him to read her paper and give some feedback about the paper. First, the tutor read the paper and at the same time marked any error that he saw. Afterward, he immediately answered her questions by giving her feedback. He said that her idea was very solid and he could understand everything. In his opinion, he believed that beside little mechanical errors, she did not need to improve her papers. Finally, she asked some general questions and personal concern with the

From what i saw, the tutorial session went very well and my friend had a very positive experience. She got a lot of good feedback on her paper. He gave a lot of feedback of how he thought about her strength in writing. For example, the tutor expressed about how he really liked how she evaluated each speaker and used an example that related to her personal experiences. The tutor also answered all the question that my friend concerned. Her main concern was she was unsure if her ideas flows well.  The tutor explained that all her ideas flow very well, and he could understood her topic very well. Overall, my friend got what she expected from the tutorial session.