A blog for tutors to share their ideas, experiences, and insights.

Author Archives: eclat93

I became very excited upon hearing that we had to blog for this class. I used to blog about professional wrestling before. Therefore, Tutor Musings was familiar ground for me. This was the chance for me to spew words onto a page! Though I definitely put some thought into my posts, I saw this as an opportunity to type without numerous constraints on any topic (of course, it has to somewhat abide by the prompt). Tutor Musings gave me the opportunity to write and share about my life, its accomplishments and its struggles. My voice could be heard. The my only regret was that I did not have the chance to blog more regularly. While I did blog when my group had to blog, I felt that we, as prospective UWTs, could have accomplished a lot of through weekly blogging.  

Blogs are more communication rather than simply information. We try to promote dialogue rather than persuade that our opinions are right like in an academic essay. That is why I try to make a connection with the reader. Undergraduates can have the same great conversation here as in a classroom. This group learning experience would help us once we become writing tutors because it challenges us to interact with strangers. I am so glad to listen and to share my experiences with students from three great universities. It is my hope and desire that informal posts can be an integral part of the future UWT experiences. 


🙂 😛

When I enrolled in this Writing Tutors class, I sincerely believed that I would be able to contribute to UWT by appealing to undergraduates interested in science and foreign students from Chinese speaking countries. Why? Well, I’m Chinese and I like science. However, I slowly realized that my future tutoring sessions may not go in the way that I expect if I maintain that mentality. Whenever, I attempt to speak Chinese to our foreign students, they would always talk back in English. That was weird because I thought that they would speak in a language that is more familiar to them. An incident that I experienced a weeks ago involved a foreign student commenting about my “lacking grammar”. That…was…interesting. However, I came away from that conversation with a new perspective of tutoring; one that is based more on mutual understanding than a typical tutor/ tutee relationship. These individuals are taking the initiative to come to me for assistance. That act exemplifies the hierarchy of the tutor/tutee relationship. There is no need for me to make premeditated assumptions. I have to be the professional and give the writer sound honest advice. I am not supposed to make assumptions and biased argument. This applies not merely to Chinese and Science oriented writers but to all writers. I am to look at the whole picture: student and essay. The student does not reject American culture but rather embrace it. We should encourage them to continue to do so.

American culture is less of this:


And oddly….more of this…


When I am feeling stressed out, whether from school or life, I would take out a yoga mat and meditate. For those who do not know how to meditate, IT IS NOT SLEEP. It involves a sense of feeling and reflection. Some say it even encompasses a worldly, all-knowing experience.

Many instructors tell their students to set aside their first draft for a couple of days. After, when students pick up their essays, they would be able to have a fresh look for their paper and detect errors that were not apparent right after they typed out the fresh draft. In addition, they would be able to incorporate new ideas into their essays to make it stronger.

Meditation is a way to translate writing to a global level. It allows one to ….just….think…..and …feel. In fact, the closer that I am to the due date of the essay, the more urgent it is for me to meditate and feel what the heart of my essay is conveying.

Obviously, we cannot have every tutee meditate on the floor of the writing studio. However, this reminds me of the experience I had when my tutor gave me a topic to think about and left me alone for about 5 minutes to digest what I learned. This is a form of meditation that could be useful in multiple settings inside the writing studio and out:

Student: I’m really stuck on this part of the essay, do you think it’s strong enough and conveys my message. 

Tutor: It’s interesting that you say that. Have you thought much of it?

Student: Not necessarily. It just popped into my mind while I was reading through the paper. 

Tutor: Alright. You seem to have valid concerns about this particular part of the essay. It seems pretty good in my opinion. However, if you do think that you can make it better. Why don’t you take a couple of minutes (don’t rush) to think it through. Think how to the audience would perceive the paper after they read this section. Jot or draw anything that would help you remember what to think. Let me make a quick phone call.   

After about five to ten minutes, the tutor would come back and hopefully see the tutee brainstorming or writing down ideas for his essay. The tutor can help the writer compare the differences between the two works and possibly lead the student to a decision on how to proceed with his/her essay.

We live in a very fast world. Sometimes, there is only so much time we can devote to one particular subject. The writing studio could be used as a place for the student to think about their essay in a holistic manner, something they probably do now have time to do back in their dorm. At the writing studio, there is no distraction which leaves the writer time to think; this is very similar to meditation!

A second step would be to introduce meditation to the writer. They can use a short ten minutes of meditation if they are pressed for time in order to collect their thoughts and see how can they project their essay to the global level.



So easy, even a child could do it!

Upon completion of an examination at Duke University, I have to sign the Duke Community Standard. In short, signing the Duke Community Standard is an indication that I did not lie, cheat, or steal to get my grade. As depicted in the readings, writing tutors have to straddle that brick wall between merely giving pointers and line-by-line editing of papers. Some may even exclaim that to not undergo line-by-line editing is unethical and a may be a breach of trust for the tutee. Thriving in such conditions is no small feat for aspiring tutors. The Duke Community standard forbids us to use line-by-line revision for papers despite some of our inclination to do so.


This video (especially the last minute) proves that learning can be achieved even without going line by line over an essay. The power of the writing studio is exemplified here in a way such that the Duke Community Standard is maintained while the tutee is able to have to tools to correct his essay. You can definitely give a boy a fish but it’s better to ACTUALLY teach him how to fish.

Universities should value the work of a writing center because no other resource on campus can help with such a diverse group of topics ranging from simple creative non-fiction writing to full-fledged resume revisions. Writing centers lend importance not only to one’s college life but also life after college. That after-college importance is why both our writing center and career center are collaborating to great reviews from students who have used this resource.

What is amazing about Duke (Duke pride) is that we have students have all backgrounds and cultures. One way to make writing popular again is to have an incentive. Competition is the tool that drives people forward. Writing competitions are great in that they challenge people to produce their best work, especially if it’s going to be judged by others. Obviously, if every person were to buy into the competition, each would have to be separated into different groups in an effort to be fair, a rather subjective task. Students and other personnel would turn towards writing centers in an effort to better their writing. I believe that without some kind of incentive, people will not put as much effort into it. The writing center could be the “middle-man” in this relationship.

Ciao a tutti! Hi everyone. My name is Brendan. I am part of the tutor-in-training program at Duke University. Tutoring has always been special to me and I want to use whatever skill I have to help others. Every tutor and tutee have a unique style of teaching and learning. I want to be adaptive and allow myself to be receptive to all styles. Looking forward to a great year! Adios!