Have you every wondered WHY the Writing Center does things the way it does? Turns out- there are a whole lot of reasons behind the ideas and practices of the IPFW Writing Center. Here at The Draft, we are starting a new, continuing series to take you inside the Writing Center. We are aiming to help you take a peak behind the sign-in desk and inside the interworkings of the IPFW Writing Center. First stop: philosophy. I am going to bet that you didn’t realize that there is an entire philosophy behind the methods of the Writing Center. Now you do.
The IPFW Writing Center is an important co-curricular site for learning for multiple audiences and multiple purposes. In respect for the writers and their authorship, the Writing Center emphasizes a non-directive, hands-off-the-writer’s-paper style of consulting, though the directive/non-directive approach shifts and varies with the needs of the student. The Writing Center believes a primarily non-directive style keeps consultants from taking over or crafting the shape a paper will take, which is important as consultants are not responsible for individual papers’ outcomes; the writer earns the grade.
This emphasis on non-direction does not preclude tutors from sharing knowledge of writing conventions that may be new to the student. The Writing Center believes there are differences between a directive approach and telling the student what moves will make the paper more effective. With some students, consultants may need to be direct in order to communicate more effectively. Consultants don’t withhold information. Instead, they question the writer about motives and goals for the paper and offer a kind and educated response. Thus, the Writing Center offers individualized responses to undergraduate and graduate student writers in any discipline and throughout their writing process.
During writing consultations, consultants read and respond to more than papers; consultants also read and respond to the person sharing their ideas who risk feeling rejected both intellectually and personally. Consequently, some patient assurance that the writers can complete a successful college-level paper may be the only “product” to come out of some consultations. If the Writing Center helped them see their writing in a more positive light, then the mission during the consultation has been achieved.
It is important to note that the Writing Center intentionally hires tutors with diverse backgrounds in writing and subject matter so that writers have the widest possible variety from which to choose the strongest consultant. In summary, the Writing Center’s philosophy centers on the belief that learning and writing require the presence of other learners and writers. Diversity in every aspect of our work from hiring to learning and consulting styles is embraced and encouraged. In opening the center to this diversity, it is understood that differences will have to be negotiated and change will likely occur.
Let Us Help You
There you have it! The IPFW Writing Center philosophy. With a firm belief in a non-directive approach, individualized responses and a commitment to diversity, the IPFW Writing is ready and willing to help you with your next writing project. So make an appointment, drop in, or send us your online consulation request today. We are here for YOU!