December 16, 2021
This semester at the Writing Centre, I achieved a lot more than I thought I would. Firstly, I was able to understand many students’ learning styles and writing preferences and work accordingly. This gave me the ability to make them come back to the WC and soon they became weekly regulars. They enjoyed the sessions and were honest about what was working and what was not. I personally appreciate honesty, so such straightforward feedback kept me going and I learnt increasingly every day. I became used to creating mind maps, flowcharts, tables, lists and much more with the use of white boards, screen sharing, glass boards, as well as TV screen displays. These abilities slowly became a routine, and I was able to send almost 95% of my students home with pictures of our brainstorming and learning from the boards. For online meetings, I was able to use the Whiteboard app on my computer or the Zoom Whiteboard as well as Annotation. The students would always ask for the Whiteboard files at the end as we would produce outlines, topics, action plans, editing strategies and much more during the session. Active listening and paraphrasing were also some of my central ways of making the students feel heard and respected. Especially with returning or adult program learners, it is incredibly important to show mutual respect and understanding as they expect a safe space to be able to honestly ask for help and learn from their error patterns in writing.
Secondly, all these strategies used were exponentially better when it came to my Embedded class students. I was getting a lot of practice as I would be using these tools for the same concepts and the same class almost every day. It came to a point where I had some standard templates of my paragraph structure notes, essay structure chart, word count, content and source distribution chart, class deadlines and assignment instructions notes, and so on. I would save these pictures or files and was successfully able to transfer the knowledge by reusing them with certain personalized changes for each student. This came in handy even with first timers as seeing that I could reuse my material from sessions with their classmates made them more likely to follow the same writing techniques and come back to the WC. I ended up having more than 100 appointments with my Embedded classes with more than 83% registration rates overall. I had a lot of fun and satisfaction using these methods daily. I was also able to integrate my understanding of Bloom’s taxonomy in my sessions. I learnt that the students’ ability to create tables and charts during appointments and editing their writing accordingly after surely meant that they were evaluating, analyzing, and applying the writing strategies. I also had fun using color coding for sentence types in paragraphs for visual learners. Seeing them come back to the WC with a color coded or edited paper showed me that they understood and remembered the learning from our sessions.
Thus, I had a wonderful time working with my Embedded classes this semester and growing in my teaching style with the use of various visual, technological, and verbal strategies. Last but not the least, I also explored Microsoft Word a lot more and was able to help students use tools like Read Aloud, Dictate, Commenting, Bibliography creation, SharePoint and so on. I can finally say that I am standing up to my expectations as a tutor and hope to keep growing and learning more as I cultivate my strengths as a tutor at Trinity and a teacher after I graduate.