Being effective while being directive

Directive tutoring has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now, ever since re-working my UCWbL portfolio to be specific, so I figured it was about time to get things off my chest.

For starters, what is the right way to go about this approach? What is the correct balance between too lackadaisical and too harsh? And are there certain people you should never and/or always use this method with?

My inquiries began as a result of a written feedback reflection from another peer tutor. After taking a look at a document I had reviewed for a writer, this tutor suggested that in the future, I be more directive in my comments. I was floored. More directive? Was he crazy? Is that even possible?

Since my first quarter here at the UCWbL, I have been concerned that my “tutoring style” was too hands on. Although I would never write, or rewrite a paper for a writer, I do tend to always offer a handful of suggestions regarding corrections he or she could make. And I offer wonder if instead, I should be quiet, and let the writer think of an alternate word, phrase, sentence, etc., completely by themselves. Or in the case of written feedback, simply state that something is awkward or inconsistent or wrong, without giving them ideas as to how it could be fixed.

However, after receiving that constructive criticism from my coworker, and observing other tutor/writer relationships at the UCWbL, it seems as though maybe my way of doing things, is not wrong after all. And that in fact, others may be even more directive than I am. Of course, this does not mean that those who choose another method, are incorrect, or worse tutors. Nor does it mean that I cannot change up my technique later on either.

But I can say that I am now a lot more secure with my performance.