Monday, November 10, 2014

What I've Learned as a Writing Consultant: Abby

Students often come to the writing center because they want to have their papers proofread by someone. When I am scheduled with a student one of the first questions I ask is what their primary concerns for the paper are. Some of the typical concerns are: wanting to make sure that their paper fits the guidelines of the assignment, that their thesis makes sense, that the sentences flow well together, and that citations are made properly. After we discuss some of the concerns that the student has with the paper, we then read the paper out loud. I have found this to be very helpful because it allows for both me and the writer to be able to hear the words and catch the mistakes. This is a technique that I have been able to translate in some of my own assignments. For example, when I was working on my capstone presentation outline, I had a couple of my friends listen to me read it while I was working on it so that they could help me point out places that I would need to work on.
After the student and I finish reading through a paragraph, we will stop to make sure that the paragraph fits with the thesis, the rest of the paper, and look over places where some of the sentences may need to be re-worded. In my own writing I have found that sometimes I will need to rearrange my phrases within a sentence in order for them to make more sense or flow better. Sometimes I have misplaced commas or semicolons. When I see that other students make similar mistakes, I find that I am able to sympathize with them. It feels good to be able to have a conversation with a student about how I have had similar problems with making sentences flow or placing commas before quotations and then be able to help that student fix those problems on his or her own paper. My own writing benefits from this because I learn better ways to say what I need to say in a sentence and I have more practice with correct comma placement.

Once we have gone over the whole paper then we go over the work cited page and make sure that they are written correctly. We often will go back and check the in-text citations to make sure that they match with the works listed on the works cited page and that they are properly placed. Since I have started working at the Writing Center, I feel like I have been becoming a citation master, because I have lots of practice with students going over the proper way to reference a work. I have grown better with the MLA format (which as an English major is the one I am the most familiar with), and I have even begun to internalize how the APA format works. The more I learn from helping students with their citations, the more advanced my own understanding becomes, which benefits future students that will turn up in the Writing Center, as well as myself!

Working as a consultant has been very beneficial for my own writing. I find that I learn just as much from the consultation as the other student does. Helping teach others has allowed me to realize just how far my own writing has come from my first year in college. If I can learn through mistakes and teach others, then I know that other students can do the same.

Here is a handy link to how to cite APA documents.

Here is a link to help with MLA citations.

For those who struggle with commas (as I have) here is a quick link to comma help.

Keep Writing!


No comments:

Post a Comment