Category Archives: Practicum Discussion

EWCA Workshop — 21 July 2014

Peer Tutor Education Models:
Beyond Classroom Borders

Nkem Chukwumerije, Peer Tutor, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY
Brian Fallon, Director, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY
Adam Gray, Associate Director, Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY


 The goal of this workshop is to develop strategies for creating a “higher risk/higher yield” (Boquet, 2003) peer tutor education program that does not rely on a mandatory, codified “training” course.

This workshop was born out of our own experiences at FIT, where we face difficulties providing peer tutor education. Like many writing centers, we want to engage peer tutors in high impact practices that result in the lasting social and academic effects documented by Gillespie, Hughes, and Kail (2010). To reach these ends, an expectation for tutors to be involved in carefully planned practicum meetings, scholarly activity (Dinitz and Kiedaisch, 2002), a mentoring program (Wenger, 1996), and community-building activities (Geller et al., 2007) is at the heart of how peer tutors at our institution develop their understanding of literacy and language learning.

Our conversations today will focus on the challenges and rewards of building a peer tutor education program that does not rely on a formal course. We invite participants to share, discuss and develop strategies to accomplish the following:

  • Hiring/selecting new peer tutors;
  • Preparing peers for their first session;
  • Encouraging feedback, trust, and good judgment;
  • Making practicum meetings meaningful and effective;
  • Developing mentorship opportunities in and outside of the writing center (tutors educating tutors, tutors building relationships with faculty, etc.);
  • Bringing peer tutors to conferences and encouraging publication.

Our intention is to collaboratively develop and draft a peer tutor education action plan that includes items we can all implement upon return to our writing centers. We hope this action plan will define goals and strategies for moving current peer tutor education models forward.


Workshop Overview

  • Introductions
  • Writing Center Learning Audit
  • Breakout Discussions—Strategies for creating a culture of learning/community of practice through:

Hiring/Recruiting,
Peer Tutor Education,
Development and Support.

  • Breakout Session Takeaways
  • Draft Action Plan(s)

Andrea Lunsford “Collaboration, Control, and the Idea of a Writing Center”

Tell us about your Garret, Storehouse, and Burkean Parlor experiences?

I think it would be crazy to suggest that the Writing Studio hasn’t acted as each of these centers at some point, and I think it’s safe to say that both faculty and students assume that we are more often than not a Garret or Storehouse Center.  What do you think this says about the work we do? How does this relate to our discussion during practicum about Expressivism, Cognitivism, and Social Constructionism, and where we, students, and faculty live on the rhetorical triangle?

rhetriang