Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today the student and I looked at the prompt for her 2-page paper. We discussed the prompt line by line and tried to glean exactly what the professor was looking for. We talked about the depth required to explore something critically and carefully. We talked about how to deal with situations in which a writer knows what sorts of questions to ask, but can't actually get at the answers. After jotting down a lot of ideas, we arrived at a short essay outline with three sections which we proceeded to try and link together coherently. She seemed to struggle a little bit finding the links between the disparate sections, but after a little prompting seemed to really be getting it. After creating a promising outline, we talked about the importance of keeping in mind the central question of the prompt and constantly referring back to it."
"Today, we worked on the student's outline for his junior research project, which he's writing on Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. He already had developed his thesis with his teacher, and made a first stab at what evidence he would use to back up each of the three main points of his argument. We talked through these and I helped him improve some that I thought could use a bit of reworking to make clear just why the particular scene was a strong piece of evidence for the claim he was making. On one of this three arguments, about foreshadowing in the novel, I had him come up with completely new evidence, as he hadn't completely understood the meaning of the term foreshadowing. Once he understood what he should be looking for, he came up with two good instances of foreshadowing in the novel."
"The student and I worked together to assess his latent writing ability. I had him verbally tell stories that interested him from his life and then had him write these anecdotes down. The student is eager to improve and seems willing to do all the work it will take to become a proficient writer. We worked on identifying subjects and verbs in sentences, as well as correct placement of periods. I assigned two homework assignments: first, to write a page-long essay on the similarities and differences he sees in a book and its movie version and second, he is to spend ten minutes per day writing a journal entry on any topic."