This person was selected to be a tutor. She has been trained. She’s an incredible writer. What am I? These questions may run through a writer’s mind as he walks into a tutoring session. Even with perceptions of the writing studio as a space for remedial writers debunked, insecurities about writing ability can be compounded when compared to these intimidating tutors who have been chosen for their prolific writing. As the writer closes up, it can be difficult to run a productive session. The writer may be too shy to speak, or may be unwilling to share the composition. It is thus up to the tutor to reach across the threshold and encourage the writer to open up.

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Maybe like a shell. A tutor might accomplish this by talking about what’s working well in the piece. Or by engaging in normal, non-writing related conversations with the writer to assure him that both are the same—simple, normal students struggling over the same classes. Perhaps then the writer will be less intimidated. And, like a shell, the open writer may discover that he has a pearl inside, waiting to be discovered.

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