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Service Learning in the Writing Center

My colleagues Tiffany Rousculp, Melissa Helquist and I have been working on a new writing-center related course here at SLCC--English 1810:  Writing Center Theory and Practice.  We struggled for some time with the name of the course, given that we wanted to emphasize the notion of pedagogy and that tutoring work is not only a great lead-in to a teaching carreer, but also is a different way to work with students.  The influence that one-to-one writing center work can have on instructors is profound.  Just the other day, a colleague asked it if would be possible to have adjunct faculty take our Student Writing Center education program (aka training) and to work as consultants in the Center.  Although our budget wouldn't allow for that, it is an intriguing idea.  I can see that it would have positive influence on the teaching of adjunct faculty.

In any case, the biggest difference in 1810 and our regular staff education program is that the students enrolled in it will not be employed by either the Student Writing Center or the Community Writing Center.  They will, in fact, be Service Learning students, required to work for 20 hours in either Center during the semester.  I'm interested to see how such a volunteer program will work.

UPDATE (10/11/2008):  Our proposal seems to have cause problems with Internet Explorer.  I shall post it back when I get a change.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It gives me some inspiration for reconnecting with the students in my tutor development course (Theory and Practice of Peer Education); some of them have becoming a little disengaged as of midterm.

    If you're interested, I recommend Johnson and Krase's Theory and Practice for Writing Tutors, which was published by Prentice Hall this summer. Good luck with the proposal.

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  2. This sounds similar to the tutoring training program I went through at Snow College. Everyone interested in tutoring at the writing lab was required to take a 3credit hour course (Writing Instruction and Rhetorical Theory, which—oddly enough—says nothing about writing centers in the title.) and volunteer at the writing lab during the semester. Students who completed all the volunteer hours and received an acceptable grade in the course could then become paid tutors at the center the following semester.

    Would you offer your volunteers a job after they complete the course? If so, I am guessing the program will take off.

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