Grammar Girl's Tips For better Writing
Online Writing Support
Guide to Grammar and Writing
Purdue's Online Writing Lab
Basic Elements of English
Grammarly Handbook is a virtual grammar handbook that describes various grammatical rules and offers examples of correct and incorrect use. The rules are broken down into different categories that make the site truly user-friendly. It also shares ideas on academic writing, composition, style, editing, etc.
Professional Writing and Resumes
Quotation Self Tests
8 Principles of Minimalist Tutoring
- The best way to learn how to write is by writing. In general, the more a tutor talks, the less a student writes. A session in which a tutor and student “discuss” ideas may feel satisfying, but the discussion is often abstract and the student leaves the Writing Center with little writing and quickly fading memories of a “discussion” in which the tutor did most of the talking. The student has made no progress with the paper. Instead, we want to move students quickly toward generating text and developing their ideas on paper. The most productive tutoring sessions are those that allow students to leave with tangible results: notes and pre-writing that they have developed by working closely with a few key moments in the text, substantive questions that they have posed to their own drafts, or several revisions of one or more paragraphs accompanied by written notes and a clear sense of how to proceed with their revision process.
- Our primary objective is to help students become better writers by the end of the
semester, not to produce a perfect paper by the end of a tutoring session. It may
take more than one session for students to fully incorporate the approaches they practice
in the Writing Center. Therefore, we must focus on the students’ overall progress
and development rather than the success of the current paper.
- Tutors in the Writing Centers do not provide proofreading or editing services for students.
- They do not interpret texts for their students or suggest ways that their students might connect the texts in an assignment.
- They do not fix a student’s paper by providing a thesis, rearranging paragraphs, or otherwise doing the work of interpretation or revision for the student.
- It is important that we not allow a student’s panic or deadlines to shape the tutoring sessions. Since we view tutoring as an on-going process rather than a last-minute check, we should focus on modeling strategies of reading, writing, and revising that students will use as they continue to work on their own. Thus, if student is panicked because he has not started writing a paper that is due in two days, or in a few hours, you can ask him to begin on parts of the assignment and remind him that he will continue what you started on his own. In cases like this, it s important to remember that you will see a student for at least five sessions.
- An assessment of each student’s work determines the focus of the tutoring session. Formal or formulaic approaches assume that every student’s strengths, weaknesses, preparation, and progress are identical, but this is simply not the case. Furthermore, it is crucially important to remember that every writing project has its own logic, and therefore a plan that works for one student’s paper might be entirely inappropriate for another student’s paper. Rather than assuming that there is one step-by-step writing process to which every writer must adapt, we must strive constantly to help students identify and practice the writing strategies that are most productive for them. This work always begins with the students’ own writing, and their own assessments of their writing processes.
- Students will become more independent as writers if they understand how and why each step of the writing process is important and productive. Simply telling students what to do is inadequate because it mystifies the writing process and leaves students dependent on their tutors. Throughout the tutoring session, it is crucially important to establish— through conversation rather than lecturing —the point of each task we ask students to do.
- The work we do with students in the Writing Center should complement, not replicate, the work students do with teachers in the classroom. While teachers focus primarily on results, it is our job to focus on the process. At every tutoring session, students should work on specific reading, writing, and critical thinking strategies, rather than engaging in general conversations about the texts or their own essays. Rather than explaining essays, lecturing about the goals of the course, or correcting errors, our job is to coach students toward more productive working practices.
- Resist the temptation to be a student’s savior. While it is disheartening when a student fails a paper, remember that the work you do with students in the Writing Center represents only a tiny part of the work that goes into any paper. Ultimately, your job is to teach students how to draw on effective reading and writing strategies when they are working alone. Remember: Never work with students outside the scheduled period and do not give them your email or phone number so they can contact you for assistance.
- Please avoid evaluating or judging a student’s work. Writing classes are difficult and often students feel dispirited. They frequently look to blame their performance or difficulties on their teacher and often turn to their tutor for reinforcement in this. Tutors frequently find themselves in an uncomfortable triangulation where they are pitted against the teacher. Harmless comments on a student’s work can metamorphose into, “My tutor thinks I’m a great writer and thinks my teacher grades too hard.” In order to avoid such problems, you should never, under any circumstances, evaluate a student’s work or speculate on a grade. We are not suggesting you withhold encouraging words, but that you avoid giving an opinion on the grade a paper deserves or the teacher’s standards.