Over the course of the semester we have used this blog to post about different topics and methods associated with peer tutoring. Although i have never been much of a blogger, having a resource to extend our thoughts to other students across the country has been incredible fulfilling. Blogging is rather impersonal, but it is a forum in which we can address issues and problems that may otherwise go unanswered. Using tone and different writing styles can be helpful to get a better feedback from our peers, but by posing questions and posting comments we have developed a mutual respect with one another and has made us all better writers and tutors.
Dealing with people that i have never met has actually been more beneficial than talking with people that i know. Being blind to who is talking is helpful because it opens the opportunity to be completely honest with the person on the other end of the connection. New perspectives and new ideas are also generated when we utilize minds not only here in Boulder, but also from students around the country from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
I was hesitant to blog at the beginning of the semester. I consider myself a fairly private person, and so the thought of sharing my thoughts on a public forum with strangers across the nation freaked me out (to put it lightly). I actually felt a lot like this guy…
So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I didn’t just jump into the blog – I read a lot of posts before I published my first. The experience of reading people’s posts made me feel more comfortable with the idea of blogging. I realized that none of us are too different from one another. We come from diverse backgrounds, different schools and modes of learning, but, at the end of the day, we’re connected by our mutual interest in improving not only our own writing but also that of others. I mean, why else would we take this class?
As the semester wore on and the blogging continued, I fell into a sort of rhythm. I had new post alerts sent to my email, so I could read every one. I was fascinated with the things people wrote. Some I could identify with while others opened me up to a perspective or situation I had never previously imagined.
Because writing in the blogs was an academic assignment, I strove to maintain some semblance of academic form though I didn’t want to come across as too straight-laced or boring. By writing from a personal point-of-view and relating my posts to my thoughts or my experiences, I found that I could be both casual and academic.
I’m extremely glad to have had this blogging experience. It’s helped me think about tutoring in a more holistic way. Just like I’ve read and processed multiple blog posts, some from strangers and some from friends, so too will I need to read and process papers and thoughts of writers during my future tutoring sessions. So thank you, everyone, for helping me along my process to becoming a writing tutor. I wish everyone the best of luck in their future roles as writing tutors!
Initially, I was anxious about posting to this blog. It probably took me just as long to write my short, three-sentence long introduction of myself as it did to write my last, much longer post about my research project. I just wasn’t used to this medium. I’ve written my own blogs before (when I was in 7th grade), and even did a project on one for Writing 20. However, those blogs were for audiences I knew, unlike this one. I tried to keep my voice friendly, but professional, which was no easy task. I made sure to reread my posts several times before posting. I sometimes waited a few hours, and then reread the post, before finally putting it online to gain fresh perspective. Over the course of the semester I’ve become more confident about my posts, due to the thoughtful and insightful comments my co-bloggers have made on my post. Even though I haven’t met the majority of you, I feel that a real sense of community exists here in Tutor Musings 2.
If I had been writing for a group of friends, I would have included more inside jokes or personal facts about myself. I would probably post about The Killers and the Cardinals a lot, because that was pretty much the extent of my 7th grade Xanga. The Killers continue to be my favorite band, but I’m glad that this semester introduced me to a new, more productive genre of blogging.
The prospect of an interactive, blog-based forum intermingled with a class, initial left me wary and concerned. I once had a professor insist on a Facebook page devoted to class, on which we were required to devote the equivalent time that I assume Facebook users typically devote to time wasting. I flat out refused–no Facebook for me! Besides my personal disinterest and disdain for Facebook, I very much disliked the idea of the type of interaction associated with blog/social networking type stuff penetrating the collegiate academic environment. Well I enjoy class, it is very important to me to maintain a professional presence when on campus and in classes. Perhaps this is because I feel like I don’t belong in college, that I should never have been accepted, yet I do feel that we are all incredibly lucky to be attending such illustrious institutions and we should all dress, talk, and act accordingly. So for me, taking on blogging, which I have never done before- was a very scary concept.
Interacting with Word Press, the difficulty of usage for a slightly dyslexic individual such as my self, and the nature of blogging continuously made me feel as if I had just vomited onto the internet each time I posted.
Setting aside my personal experience with Word press and my own romantic yet dated vision of what college should be, the concept of the blog and the resulting interaction and discussion was, in my opinion, very valuable and an enriching addition to the course.
Well the mechanics and fluency issues of Word Press are to be expected, I was very impressed with the overall interaction, interest, and posts of my fellow bloggers. As the semester progressed it was nice to see the initial rigidity and formal nature dissipate to leave a friendly and helpful community of potential tutors.
I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts, and thank you if you read mine. Best of luck to everyone.
The thought of sharing my ideas with a public audience outside of my teacher and classmates was a bit intimidating at first. I have used blogging for a class before, but it was mainly read by other students in the class (most of which I had known outside of school) so I felt more comfortable writing in my true tone and voice. However, for this new audience that I didn’t know, I definitely was more cautious at the start. While writing my first post, I was thinking about how others would perceive me based on my writing, and that kind of shaped how my first blog post was written. As time went on and I read other students’ blog posts, I became increasingly comfortable writing in my own style.
This in turn, finally allowed me to sit back and enjoy reading the other posts and pick up on how other students, who are in the same situation as I am, handled similar problems/experiences that I have also dealt with. I really enjoyed being able to see how others took the information we learned and apply it in real situations. It created a strong connection between what we were learning in class and why we were learning those things. Which, I can’t say happens too often (coughcalculuscough).
I genuinely enjoyed blogging throughout this semester and I hope the opportunity will arise for me to collaborate academically with another audience again! Until then, I’ll just have to blog on my own. 🙂
I’ve decided to research active listening and pinpoint some cognitive and behavioral aspects of listening that can help tutors affectively collaborate with tutees. This project made me reevaluate my own listening practices, and it became sort of “meta” during my tutoring sessions. The tutors who listened to me reading my paper aloud subtlety changed their body language to reflect what I wrote in my paper.
First, I focused on the behavioral aspects of listening, including mental focus. I explained the weakness of the phrase “listen harder.” Through my research I discovered how complex the mental listening process is.
Second, I delved into effective listening body language, which includes: facing the speaker, nodding, rephrasing, and questioning. However, over emphasizing these practices can also seem condescending to a speaker. A tutor must be sensitive to the context of the session and notice how a speaker responds to listening body language.
I’m still not quite sure what to create for my final deliverable though. Originally, I intended crafting a handout that could be used by tutors and tutees. Professor Russell mentioned that I could use “Case Builder” software to create potential situations where tutors write how they would react. This software is much more dynamic and interesting than a handout. I would create a fictional tutoring scenario; focused on listening, and then a tutor chooses from options how they would respond to the situation. Then they could see the “suggested behavior” described in the scenario. This “quiz” I make could then be a tutor-training tool. Would this be a good way to train tutors? Or would another type of deliverable be more effective?
Every day we all walk in and out of several buildings which each have their own specific purpose in our lives. Some of you, assuming I’m not the only one, had classes today (Friday) on campus. At some point, you probably walked out of a building and to another one to get food. At the end of the day you go back to your house, dorm, or apartment or maybe out to a friends house or even a place like a bar. We all know that the buildings on campus are used for academics, and your home is a place for you to sleep and live in, while the bars are always good for balcking out.
What we all seem to overlook when it comes to buildings is how they represent their function. I guarantee that most of you rarely think about each building you walk into, but everyone would all have an innate sense that something is out of place if your typical lecture class held in one of the many academic looking buildings on your campus was suddenly transformed into a disco night club. While that is a very extreme example, it hopefully brought you to my point.
Architecture is not only about erecting buildings, but also about studying what the intent of the architect was with the building. Architects, believe it or not, are people too, all with their own differing opinions. When they were contracted to design and erect a specific building, they looked at its future functions in society and asked themselves “How can I make this building physically represent it’s intended function?’. This being the basic question asked by architects leads into the subcategories like modern architecture versus Greek architecture when you consider the historical and political aspects of that architect. What were the times like while this building were being made? Are they in a highly populated urban area or the spread out country land of a ranch? What about a government building in the United States used for political matters in comparison to the Paris Opera catering to the cultural arts of France?
If we think about these specific variables in the buildings that we use today, we realize that we are surrounded by structures that directly reflect our past in a combined historical, cultural, and political setting. Architects have used designs like placing two columns at each end of a table in certain office buildings to represent the idea of democracy by getting rid of the hierarchy of the head and foot of a table.
If any of you disagree with me in any way or have any extra input on what I have posted above, please let me know in the comments. I am currently writing an architectural paper and forming a presentation on how to write about architecture, so any extra advice at this point would be greatly appreciated so I know I’m on the right track.