Peer Mentor Reflection

1685 Words 7 Pages
From my brief experience as a consultant, I developed a few insightful notes about what working as a peer mentor is and more specifically, working with students from an ESL class. The first being that preliminary expectations should be avoided at all costs. Having expectations about your writer before coming into the writing center is a set and makes it harder to reconnect with the writer. For me, I had been ready to address the global issues without first hearing the prompt from the writers and the writers’ understanding of it. Had I known that two of the writers didn’t want arguments in their essays beforehand, I would have better prepared myself to consult with them. And also, I wouldn’t haven’t been so focused on ESL markers for the reason …show more content…
I thought it was beneficial to not just give corrections and notes, but explanations. And also, to have the writer take advantage of the revision suggestions while they’re sitting beside you where they can ask questions. It is more satisfying to know that someone understands you and that goes for both the consultant and the writer. Working with the writers one-on-one in the writing center was not unlike that of peer tutoring. The writers received individual attention and the focus was not a particular piece of text, but rather the larger issues that were manifested in their writing. Bruffee’s “Peer Tutoring and the ‘Conversation of Mankind’” suggests that peer tutoring should be an alternative to the classroom and should change the social context in which students learn (87). With each writer, I was able to turn their grammatical mistakes into a teaching opportunity because there was a pattern, but each writer had their own issues with grammar that they struggled with. The writing center afforded me the opportunity to address their issues and make them a better writer in the English language. It wasn’t enough to just correct the mistakes, but notice that they all stemmed from a commonality such as subject/verb confusion or sentence order. That correlates with Harris’ argument of “Why Writers Need …show more content…
Bean states in the section about “The View of Knowledge Underlying Academic Writing,” that that formal academic writing requires analytical/argumentative thinking (Ch. 2, 18). What I encountered with my consultations were the beginnings of William Perry’s stages of development. They had clear opinions in their papers, but didn’t have the complete realization that the interpretation of those ideas could lead to a paper with reasoned arguments. The writers with their rough drafts attempted to have a concise thesis. That the second consultation wished to have an argument incorporated meant that he was developing as a writer and the writing center helped him to accomplish that goal. Not only was the second writer engaged with the paper and with me, but engaged with writing as a whole which led to the consultation being that much more enjoyable for the both of us. I felt confident afterward in his abilities as a writer and felt that he saw beyond just one piece of writing and saw the long range of the assignment –the ability to put opinions into a well-thought out argumentative essay. Also according to Bean, the writers’ papers fall under the category of “’All About’ Writing, or Encyclopedic Order” (Ch. 2, 22). They have all the information in a cogent order on the paper, but have yet to take the final step in starting an argument and allowing for analysis. But, for a beginning

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