Getting Another Perspective

Reflecting on my past appointments, I think that, sometimes, when a writer hasn’t wanted to be tutored or has been resistant to tutoring, it’s because they don’t feel they need it. When I say that, I don’t mean that the writer think’s they’re above and beyond getting feedback, but rather that they’re thinking of tutoring as remediation. They’re thinking of tutoring as being a sign that they are behind where they should be, thinking of it as a sign that they are lacking.

So, because this is a difficult thing to accept, I think the writer resists tutoring. Instead, they try to get validation from the tutor—approval of the work they’ve already done.

What I typically try to do in this situation is explain, maybe not directly, that working with a peer writing tutor isn’t intrinsically remedial. I try to explain that, a lot of the time, it’s just about getting another perspective on your work. Having a person as one of the many resources one can use for their work.

For example, I was in a Face to Face appointment, and the writer was being very quiet. When I asked for explanations, I got brief responses. When I suggested revisions, they argued against them. I didn’t think we were going to get very far with how I was trying to approach things.

So, I detoured from the work itself and briefly talked with them about my experiences using the Writing Center—how I found it valuable getting another person’s perspective on my work and new ideas about how to approach assignments. I found that, after sharing that I also used the writing center, that I got help with my work, my writer became more open to working on their paper and more receptive to my feedback.

To summarize, when I’m working with someone who seems like they don’t want to be tutored, I share that I’m also tutored; I share that I use the writing center and get feedback to.

What are some strategies you all use in these kinds of situations?