The Right Time and Proper Measure: Assessing In Writing Centers and James Kinneavy's "Kairos: A Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric."
MetadataShow full item record
In my experience working with tutors and college student writers over the last nine years, I am frequently reminded how important kairos is to my work. For example, a tutoring approach that might help Renee with her annotated bibliography draft won’t necessarily help Kevin understand his research essay prompt. The difference lies not in the fact that they are writing different essays; rather, each writer presents a different rhetorical situation with unique audiences, circumstances, exigencies, and contexts. Even if both students were writing the exact same essay on the exact same topic, their experience, confidence, and attitude toward writing would present different opportunities in a tutoring session. Although patterns exist and I begin and close a session in routine ways, I am frequently reminded by crossed arms, furrowed brows, and deep sighs that a tutoring approach ignoring kairos results in little learning and growth for the student as a writer and me as a tutor. The relevance of the term to writing center work can also be witnessed in an administrative sense. For example, interrupting a session to suggest a different approach for a tutor might be helpful; however, I may be more persuasive if I more carefully choose a time to provide feedback on a consultation.