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by Melissa Mejia, staff writer

Improving one’s writing skill requires practice. Added to this is an opportunity to look beyond practice and examine how individuals write so we can better understand the challenges associated with the process of writing. For students there is an opportunity to tutor other students to be better writers while earning academic credit and being paid.

Tutors assisting students in the Writing 1101 Lab have an opportunity to do that. They are enrolled or have already taken, Writing 3510 Composition Studies where they learn the theory and practice of teaching writing to others by studying writing strategies, discuss writing techniques, and sharing experiences from the Writing 1101 Lab.

Darrel Molina, a nursing major, took Writing 3510 and tutored in the lab for three semesters. “When I first joined the class [I thought] that all we would do is read and proof papers,” he said. “But it was more than that, because we were able to apply what we read [in class] and practice it by reading the student’s work [in the lab].”

Studying different writing strategies helped the tutors strengthen their own writing. Some have applied the strategies learned in class to their essays for other classes. “I’ve learned to better structure my writing,” said Tom Whitney, an applied mathematics major, in learning “to develop new ideas, and in teaching people, you learn something about yourself,” Whitney added. “Tutoring helps me because trying to teach someone, I have to understand the concept in order to teach it.”

“ It’s a great experience,” Molina added. “You apply ideas that you wouldn’t normally run into, like reader-based versus writer-based writing (a strategy of effectively distinguishing the difference in writing for oneself as opposed to for an audience).”

Although the tutors work with students with different backgrounds, they are able to overcome the challenges. “I thought that working with international students meant that we would be starting from scratch,” Molina said. “However, just because English isn’t their first language doesn’t mean that they can’t read or write.”

“ Students in the class are reccommended by HPU professors based on their strong written and oral communication skills,” Gili said. If students are interested in the class, she added, they are welcome to meet with her. There is an application process where students submit a piece of writing and critique student writing.

“ It’s one of the most enjoyable courses to be in,” Gili said, “because the students who choose to be tutors are not all English majors. They come from different disciplines.”

“The class is filled with very dedicated, committed, interested and engaged students,” she said.




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