Characterizing Successful "Intervention" in the Writing Center Conference




Horne, Sam Van

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In the January/February 2012 issue of the Writing Lab Newsletter, Bird writes about specific ways to examine the concept of deep learning and how these concepts are suited to the work of writing centers. In arguing that writing centers can contribute to students’ cognitive development, Bird states, “By rethinking our view of learning to include not only concepts and skills but also thinking processes, we expand the learning potential in writing center work” (1). Attention to learning has, for decades, been of paramount interest to writing center scholars who envision the writing conference as a site for student learning. Scholars have frequently addressed how peer tutoring could promote successful student learning. For example, many (if not all) writing center practitioners can recite North’s adage about how writing centers should “produce better writers, and not better writing” (“Idea” 438), but perhaps fewer are familiar with his other writings in which he is more specific about the role of tutors. In “Training Tutors to Talk About Writing,” North writes, “tutoring writing is … intervention in the composing process” (434). And in “Writing Center Diagnosis: The Composing Profile,” on the benefits of research in the writing center, North states, “[W]e are able to address our students’ writing processes directly and systematically, to move from informing students about writing to meddling with how they write” (42)


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