Peer Observation, Reflection, and evaluation Practices in the Writing Center: A Genre Pedagogy Approach
In this essay, the author shares the results of a local assessment conducted on his center’s peer observation, reflection, and evaluation practices for graduate assistants (GAs), focusing especially on the form used to facilitate these practices. The author interviewed the participants and analyzed completed “Writing Center Graduate Assistant Observation” forms. The interviews focused on three major areas: 1) what they perceived the purpose of the observation and reflection exercise to be, 2) how they felt and what they learned about observing their peers and being observed, and 3) how they felt the form affected the observation and reflection. In brief, the author argues that melding evaluation and consultant self-reflection is fraught because the rhetorical situation of each requires markedly different social action. Two critical lenses guide this examination: reflective practice and genre pedagogy. Ultimately, the author cautions those who use observation and reflection in their assessments to consider carefully the documents and genres surrounding those assessments because these genres may (intentionally or not) draw on antecedent genres that are inappropriate for the social action they intend to facilitate. Perhaps more troubling, some of these genres may implicitly draw on and/or perpetuate ideologies that are fundamentally at odds with reflective practice.