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Tutoring advanced writing students

© Julia Britvich chldren teaching
© Julia Britvich

When meeting with a student for the first time, remember that rapport is critical to the success of the session. Establish trust by being friendly and interested in the student as a person. Ask about their classes and interests. Share a little about your own life, but do not become overly personal and cross professional boundaries.

Begin your work by reviewing the requirements of the writing assignment and discussing the general goals of the essay with the student. You need to have a clear idea of what is expected of them in this assignment and what they are trying to accomplish with it. Do a quick read-through of the essay to determine if they have good structure and if their argument is clear. Be sure to pay special attention to the introduction and conclusion as most students have difficulties with these parts of writing. If the essay is unorganized or does not make a clear argument that relates directly to the thesis, you may have to spend a good deal of time just on these issues. After this point, it is helpful to go back to the assignment to ensure that the requirements have been met. Even an excellent piece of writing can receive a poor grade if it does not meet the instructor’s specific requirements. Once the essay is structurally sound and arguing a clear point, you may move on to the finer points of grammar and spelling. Go through all errors with the student to be sure that they understand what the problems were and how to avoid them in the future. As a last step, you and the student should both read through the completed essay one last time to be sure that it is acceptable. Always end a tutoring session with a compliment to the student about their work or effort level. Remember, having your writing critiqued and changed can be stressful or upsetting, so leave on a positive note. These steps should ensure quality work for your students and repeated business for you!

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