Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, Grades 6-12




Kent, Richard

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Each spring, a slew of college tutors graduate and head off to teach in grades 6-12. Most of those tutors loved working at their college writing centers; yet, very few will start writing centers at their new schools. True, writing centers have not been a significant part of the k-12 landscape, but after the success of their post-secondary counterparts, perhaps they should be. As a former high school English teacher and writing center director, I’ve heard countless arguments against having writing centers in secondary schools. Here are a few: Students aren't skilled at working with one another. It's the teacher's job to “correct” papers. What would I do as a teacher if I didn't take student papers home with me to correct? Teachers have enough to do without creating more duties. Our school doesn’t have space for a writing center. We don't have people to staff a center. A writing center will cost too much money. If you’re a college writing center tutor or professional staffer, you probably have answers to some of the above. For example, you’ve witnessed students working with students, and you know first-hand that this approach does work. Indeed, those of us who have started secondary writing centers have found solutions to most, if not all of these arguments.

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