Project Title: Should Tutoring Be More Communal?: How Writing Workshops Affect Tutee Satisfaction
Students: Julia Stone ’16 and Chase Smith ’17
Mentor: Ms. Martine Stephens

In this presentation, we will discuss our research as Writing Center tutors. For the Fall 2015 semester, we tutored in one-on-one settings. In January and February 2016, in addition to tutoring one-on-one, we worked with a Freshman English seminar (ENG 105). With the assistance of the ENG 105 professor, we led a collaborative writing workshop in class. Our goal was to teach students to take authority over their own writing and become “self-tutors”; we sought to answer the question: should tutoring be more communal?

As upperclassmen with backgrounds in creative writing workshops, we believe that the writing process requires communal input. Thus, we decided to implement a workshop with freshman English students and survey their satisfaction to see if they, too, benefit from a more social/communal tutoring experience.

We presented our findings at the East Central Writing Center Association (ECWCA) conference on March 4. Our travels were funded by a SIP grant. After receiving feedback, we found that some students preferred one-on-one tutoring and others benefited from the workshop environment. In our surveys, which included both qualitative and quantitative data, we saw a rise in confidence in writing. Overall, we could not fully determine if tutoring should be more communal, but we began an important dialogue about different types of Writing Center methodology and increased Writing Center outreach.

We believe that an oral presentation is the ideal format because it allows us to retell a narrative of our experience. An interactive platform allows for discussion and feedback, which coincides with the main focus of our project, communal tutoring. Therefore, an oral presentation, coupled with a PowerPoint, proves the best format for communicating the significance of our project.