CREATIVE METAPHORS: THE ROLE OF A TUTOR By Ammar Habib and Maddie Meylor Who We Are & How We Tutor Ammar Hi! My name is Ammar and Ive been a tutor for 2 years now. My background in writing is that my first
novel was picked up by a traditional publisher in September 2013. I now have four novels published with the fifth releasing next February. My 2nd novel received a national award, The Independent Press Award, in May 2017. Maddie Maddie has been a tutor at the Brazosport College Writing Center for the past two years.
Maddie started working as a writing tutor when she was still a dual credit, homeschool student. Maddie is now a full time honors student, as well as an alumni of Galveston Ballet. Her time as a company dancer there inspires much of her creative writing. During what little downtime she has, Maddie writes book reviews on her blog http://maddie.tv.
Ice Breaker Would anyone like to guess how literary agents and ballerinas connect to tutoring? Our Topic and Why It Matters TOPIC: Metaphorically linking the role of tutors to the role of a literary agent and ballet dancer. Why our topic is important: Metaphors help us visualize and ground theoretical concepts
As tutors, its important to understand our role; otherwise, we risk overstepping our role or becoming an editor instead of a tutor How Metaphors Can Help Using metaphors can help us understand roles which may seem fuzzy in more relatable ways. In Tutoring Writing, the authors state that defining the role of a tutor is different because there is no blanket statement. Instead, as is said in Tutoring writing: a practical guide for
conferences a tutoring session shows emergent adaption as the session negotiated and defined through the conversation of tutor and writer (28). The point is that every tutoring session is unique, which makes it hard to define a How Metaphors Can Help (contd)
The role of a tutor can be difficult to describe. According to James Sietzs Motives for Metaphor, metaphors have the ability to clarify concepts and (the) capacity to stimulate the readers imagination (29). Therefore, defining our tutoring roles through metaphors can help us further understand our roles in different types of sessions with students. Book Agent As a Tutor
Role of a Literary Agent: o Understand the market trends and publishing industry o After finding an author they believe in and connect with, they shop around existing projects, they work with authors for future projects. o Understanding the market and expectations of publishers and the business side of writing, they help GUIDE the authors writing to maximize the authors chances of success both in getting their works picked
up by publishers and being successful with audiences once published o Agents dont write a word for the author, but they are the GUIDE to the authors writings, a second voice soto-speak When to be the Agent (Guide) Just like with the Agent, there are times when tutors operate as more of a guide. Usually this is when: Student is completely confused
Student has ideas, but doesnt know where to start Student has got some work done, but does not know how to proceed Student is frustrated because of bad grades thus far How to be the Agent (Guide) How tutors are a guide: Giving the students direction Helping create outlines Turning students ideas into a thesis
Explaining what the professors expectations are Explaining components that will maximize a students chances for success Explaining concepts and misconceptions that a student may have Examples of Being the Agent 1) English student coming in frustrated with a bad grade because they did not understand a teachers expectation. 2) Biology student too confused to get started because they did not know how to
get started and needed guidance. 3) Music Appreciation student coming to WC with some vague ideas on how to write their paper, but not fully confident on how to get started in getting their thoughts out on paper. Extension of Guide (Coach) A similar way to think about the agent metaphor is to think about a sports coach. Similar to a literary agent, coaches wont do the work for you, but their role is to help you build out the skillset by:
Encouragement (in their own way) Pointing out areas of needed improvement Drills (exercises) A Partner in the Dance of Writing Roles of a ballet partner: o The ballerina needs the help of her male partner, who lifts and turns her; however, most of the actual work is
the responsibility of the ballerina herself. o She must be able to turn, jump, hold her core, and perform all of the technique on her own. Her partner is there to help her jump higher, help her turn more rotations, and lift her in the positions. o The ballerina is beautiful on her own, but her partner serves to elevate that beauty. When to Be the Partner
Tutoring is a collaboration that parallels the ballet partnership: o Tutoring allows students to get assistance in a way that will help them develop self sufficiency o As the ballerina is independent, only getting assistance to further her existing technique, students are likewise capable on their own. o Some students need help with basic framework, and I guide as the experienced partner. Some students purely
need a figure for confidence, then I act as the companion on stage. Examples of Being the Partner I once worked with a student who was experiencing serious issues with the basics of writing: o Basic sentence structure, formatting, critical reading it was all difficult for him. o I was still there to assist him, but our time together
taught this student that he could succeed on his own. Similarly, I once worked with a student who had the basics down, and just needed confidence: o I worked with that student to not second guess themselves. o I was purely there to give that student confidence, until they understood they were capable. Thinking of Tutoring
Creatively In summary: these metaphors show different aspects of tutoring and have worked to strengthen us as tutors. Metaphors such as these have many benefits: They have allowed us to further understand how and why we tutor. They have allowed us to draw the lines between tutor and editor. and why its important! All of this comes down to a few simples perks:
Metaphors allow us, tutors, to better understand our relationship and purpose when working with students. By thinking creatively, we can further strengthen our approach when working with students of all kinds, and confidences. What are some metaphors you could connect to your tutoring style? References
McAndrew, D. A., & Reigstad, T. J. (2008). Tutoring writing: a practical guide for conferences. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook . Seitz, J. E. (1999). Motives for metaphor: literacy, curriculum reform, and the teaching of English. Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh Press.
Yang, W., and Sun, Y., 2012, The use of cohesive devices in argumentative writing by Chinese EFL learners at different proficiency levels, Linguistics and Education, 23, pp.31-48. Discussion How similar/different is this from your students?
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