A picture is worth a thousand words, as the old adage says. And what better application for this cliche than the tutorial session? Truly, using an example in your tutorial session may speak volumes more to your tutee than any amount of explanation. In the scenario of a tutorial, the cliche may be stretched a bit, because the picture you may use is text itself. Confused? Consider.
Say you want to relay to your tutee what a good introduction looks like. Well, you could explain it all you want, mentioning anecdotes and interesting facts and the benefit of not announcing, or you could show it. You could bring up an example of an exemplary introduction that adequately and interestingly introduces the paper, analyzing together what works in the introduction’s favor. This way, the tutee sees what an introduction should look like, instead of trying to cram a general idea of it in their head.
In the In-Class Workshops team, we bring the Writing Center to the classroom, and we often bring examples. Examples work especially well with Digication workshops, where after explaining how they might thematically put together their e-portfolios, they can see what a completed one looks like. They can see a banner that matches the portfolio’s theme, whose colors match the colors of the CSS in the e-portfolio. They can see the point of organizing a section with pages. They can see.
Visual representations are important to incorporate into any type of educational environment. Tutorials at the UCWbL are largely an auditory venture; our tutorials are mostly based on verbal communication. Many people, myself included, have a hard time learning this way, and need visual cues to correspond with what I’m being told. Even if what I’m looking at is text, I’m still looking at it and not attempting to remember old information and store new information at once. Some people can do both at once better than others, but any students who come to the UCWbL for help should be accommodated regardless of their learning style.
So the next time you are having difficulty putting your tutorial advice in words, put it in pictures.