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Seminar in Peer Writing Consultation

Students must first apply and be accepted to the Peer Writing Consultant Program before registering.

This seminar aims to help students become theoretically informed and well-practiced peer writing consultants. Students learn about writing, teaching, community service, cultural differences, and literacy practices. Activities and experiences include:

  • reading and critiquing peer consulting pedagogy;
  • examining student papers and conferences together in class;
  • writing extensively, from short explorations (e.g., daily reading logs) to lengthy exposition (e.g., seminar papers);
  • workshopping each other's papers;
  • conferencing with the instructor;
  • observing OWL consultations;
  • observing peer consultants in the Peer Writing Center;
  • practicing peer consulting onsite and online; and
  • sharing (online and off) our experiences as writers and consultants.

Course Goals 

Overaching Goal: Train tutors to collaborate with writers in Sweetland's Peer Writing Center.

To familiarize students with theory about peer tutoring in writing.

  • Read current and classical theory about peer tutoring in writing.
  • Make connections between theory and practice.
  • Develop a theoretically grounded statement of tutoring philosophy.

Introduce students to the practice of tutoring through observation and experience.

  • Observe several tutorials in the Peer Writing Center.
  • Receive tutoring on their own papers from peers.
  • Conduct face-to-face and OWL tutorials.
  • Tutor a range of genres, modes, and media.
  • Write and share reflections on tutoring observations and experiences.

Teach tutors strategies to empower writers.

  • Recognize issues of difference as they influence writing center work.
  • Practice negotiating agendas.
  • Practice tutoring as collaborative talking, by: asking open-ended questions, reflecting ideas back to writers, providing readerly responses, providing silence for writers, inviting writers to read their papers out loud, practicing effective listening and comprehension strategies, and facilitating descriptive outlines.
  • Practice distinguishing between higher and later order concerns.
  • Practice inviting writers to reflect on process as well as product.

Involve students in a recursive and reflective writing process that addresses the goals of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

  • Reflect on rhetorical situations.
  • Create texts of varying genres, modes, and media.
  • Reflect at different moments in the writing process.
  • Collaborate with classmates and the instructor on approaches to revision.
  • Significantly revise their writing.