As many of you know Bellarmine has a Writing Center; however not all of you know what goes on here. The common misconception for the Writing Center is they only work with English papers. In the Writing Center we do see many English 101 assignments, be we also do see plenty of other assignments– from Philosophy to IDC to Biology.
Since you’re now aware of what assignments can be brought to the Writing Center; what actually goes on here? Well, there’s a lot of variance between each sessions from which stage of writing the student is in to the topic of the essay. Although each session may have a different focus, each usually starts the same way.
I recently observed a session that started out fairly typically. The Writing Center consultant greeted the student as she walked in, and then the consultant asked her about her day. Once the student was checked in for her appointment, the two proceeded to a table and began discussing the assignment. The consultant first asked the student read the writing prompt aloud and then further explain the assignment in her words. I found this to be a great idea, because it allows the student and consultant to get a clearer understanding of the assignment.
Since the student was still in the pre-writing stage, there was no draft to discuss. We call that the “pre-writing stage.” The consultant began with open ended questions to get the student’s thoughts flowing, and then concluded with a closed ended questions. Along with open and closed ended questions, the consultant used active listening. I noticed all three of these techniques helped the student brainstorm some good ideas for their assignment.
So whether you are pre-writing or completing your final draft, come give the Writing Center a try and see what it’s all about!