Writing Center Pedagogy On the Move: Peer Writing Consultants in the Classroom
Karen Rosenberg, Ph.D. (Director, Writing Center), Kim Sharp, MFA (Manager, Writing Center), Peter Freeman (Lead Writing Consultant, Writing Center),Jessica Hoffart (Writing Consultant, Writing Center), Kat Seidemann (Writing Consultant, Writing Center)
Through intensive training and work with diverse students in the Writing Center, peer writing consultants develop unique skills that can benefit students and faculty outside the walls of the Writing Center. Inviting peer consultants into the classroom offers several benefits, including modeling engaged, interactive learning, helping students make the best use of the Writing Center, and helping students understand the importance of basic writing tools such as revision. Furthermore, these sessions provide excellent professional development opportunities for the consultants themselves. In order for these classroom visits to be successful, peer consultants and instructors need a shared understanding of the desired goals and outcomes of the visit.
As the Director and Manager of the Writing Center at the University of Washington Bothell, we have been engaged in dialogue with instructors, consultants, and other Writing Centers on the possibilities and limitations of bringing peer writing consultants into the classroom. We present two examples that have been particularly fruitful on our campus. First, we introduce the “mock conference,” where tutors go into a class and role play a Writing Center conference, addressing key benefits and misconceptions of conferencing. Second, we introduce the “presentation reflection” where writing consultants help groups of students revise classroom presentations. Through these examples we show the importance of ongoing dialogue between instructors, Writing Center leadership and peer consultants. We also present questions we are grappling with that we would love to discuss with other Symposium participants.