Beyond Dichotomy: Synergizing Writing Center and Classroom Pedagogies
Steven Corbett, George Mason University
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 978-1-6023563-2-0
Publisher: Parlor Press
Conditions of Use
This text is extremely thorough in addressing all aspects of course-based tutoring: how all tutors, instructors, and learners need to rethink how read more
This text is extremely thorough in addressing all aspects of course-based tutoring: how all tutors, instructors, and learners need to rethink how writing is taught and connected to the classroom. The case studies connected well with the theories fully explained prior to their incorporation. The index was sufficient albeit a bit limited; but the Appendix more than made up for the limited information. This text not only provides the why, but it also specifically provides the how tutors, instructors, and learners of writing can implement such pedagogy.
The author offers heavily researched and backed accounts of how CBT is needed. His experiences and studies in the reinforce conceptually unbiased ideas throughout the text..
This text is a refreshing instruction manual for all collegiate-level teachers and tutors. As often referenced, there has always existed similar theories like Corbett's suggested approaches, but none establish so well the variety of ways in which teachers can effectively implement change. The relevance of these possible avenues is unquestionable. And although it is always a challenge to convince teachers, tutors, and administration to embrace change, I believe this text will remain a significant foundational guidebook for decades to come.
The terminology is excitingly challenging at times and perhaps most accessible to the professional journal readers and writers. It is a great way to dive into the terminology most relevant in today's studies of tutoring and writing, as the author fully explores the concepts as they are mentioned.
Corbett does not let the reader down; with stylistic prose and extensive research dominating his philosophy his book has the potential of changing how many writing centers function. As he mentions his influences and connects his proposals to many of the scholars in the field today, he invites the writing teacher especially to become excited about bettering writing. Hope is what he establishes throughout.
Each chapter could be utilized by readers who are focused on different aspects. As many institutions are focused on assessment and bettering student learning outcomes, Chapter 5 could easily be used as a reader for English faculty and administration to start the conversation. Chapter 1 could be used individually to help reshape writing centers, how and what they teach. Each section can promote significant discussion, and the online version was exceptional.
The Table of Contents is a clear map of what is to come in the text, and this scholarly journal is very comparable to other texts. There is a logical organization of content from the tutoring styles, methodology, case studies, and the conclusion ending with purpose of Corbett's approach. It was intriguing to read, and the structure of the text made it hard to leave a chapter unfinished.
The interface between writing centers/tutoring and writing classrooms was efficient. The navigation was easy; read as a pdf it took a moment to get used to the quickness of the arrow down margin, but besides that distraction all else was easy to maneuver. All graphs and charts were clear and easy to follow.
Corbett's writing style is engaging and translates well his passion for the subject without inflating language. No grammatical errors were seen.
The examples referenced in the text are highly sensitive to today's extensively diverse student population. Each college has its own personality, whether urban or suburban, or a particular demographic or socioeconomic factor. When Corbett addresses linguistic elements in the case studies, there is an unspoken acknowledge of difference that welcomes all readers to embrace the concepts being presented. The community college student specifically could benefit greatly from a move towards synergizing the writing centers and the writing classrooms. There is a move towards certificate programs and learning skills that can apply to life and the classroom, and all of the methodology mentioned in Corbett's text is needed.
I will definitely promote this textbook at my college. We have four campuses and a great need for redesign of or writing centers. The text also will encourage many faculty, tutors and administrators to rethink one-to-one tutoring approach and how student outcomes can improve. Thank you for a great text!
While no book can completely cover EVERYTHING regarding tutoring, composition pedagogy, and writing center work, Corbett adequately covers a few read more
While no book can completely cover EVERYTHING regarding tutoring, composition pedagogy, and writing center work, Corbett adequately covers a few relevant issues such as: tutoring style and strategy, analyses of tutoring sessions, and conflict in the tutoring session. The text also provides examples, with extensive dialogue, of tutoring sessions. Corbett includes a brief index, but no glossary. The index could be more extensive, but it is adequate for the genre.
Corbett’s chapters each offer a particular viewpoint regarding writing center and writing pedagogy; the information is accurate and coherent. In particular, Corbett addresses the idea of “reclaiming the writing classroom into ‘the idea of a writing center’” which might not be practical by all writing tutors or teachers, but his simulated tutoring sessions and strategies appear accurate, at least in theory.
Corbett provides relevant subject matter that is timely and useful for those working in the field. His text is written using a very conversational and lucid style; although, some of the dialogue seems stiff when relating examples of what happens in certain tutoring sessions. This 'stiffness' doesn't affect the relevancy or longevity. It does lack, however, more diverse approaches to the tutoring of writing and writing center practices such as OWLs (Online Writing Labs) and other electronically-mediated approaches. .
Corbett has a clear writing style. Each chapter is preceded by a clear, inclusive title. The text is not particularly convoluted or dense, but it does include terminology and syntax fitting for the discourse, and not necessarily the general public.
The information and writing style is consistent. Corbett’s approach and theoretical underpinnings are consistent with many other scholars in the field.
The chapters in this text can be used alone or as a complete text for those interested in writing center and/or pedagogical approaches. One should have at least some prior knowledge of writing center or writing instruction in order to make the most of Corbett’s work. If used individually, the chapters would work best with instructor or professorial guidance for those without significant experience with the topic.
The organization, structure, and flow of Beyond Dichotomy is sufficient for the genre. The chapters are individualized, but the overall flow of the text is good.
The interface between writing center work and writing, or composition instruction is adequate. This text is free of any significant interface issues; text and images were clear and easy to navigate. The book can also be printed (as a whole or in sections) for those who prefer to annotate with pen or pencil, and it also reads well as a separate pdf file.
There were no noticeable grammar issues. Corbett's writing style is easy to understand and grammar appears more than satisfactory.
The cultural relevance is appropriate for those working in community college or private/public university writing centers or composition classroom. Corbett’s text does not appear heavily biased or culturally insensitive; however, it does not explicitly address race or ethnicity.
Good resource for those interested in the tutoring or teaching of writing in the post-secondary classroom. Corbett's other texts are equally engaging.
Table of Contents
- Front Matter
- Introduction: Sharing Pedagogical Authority: Practice Complicates Theory When Synergizing Classroom, Small-Group, and One-to-One Writing Instruction
- Chapter One: Tutoring Style, Tutoring Strategy: Course-Based Tutoring and the History, Rhetoric, and Reality of the Directive/Nondirective Instructional Continuum
- Chapter Two: Methods and Methodology: Locating Places, People, and Analytical Frames
- Chapter Three: Macro- and Micro-Analyses of One-to-One Tutorials: Case Studies at the University of Washington
- Chapter Four: Conflict and Care while Tutoring in the Classroom: Case Studies at the University of Washington and Southern Connecticut State University
- Chapter Five: Conclusion: Toward Teacher/Student, Classroom/Center Hybrid Choices
- Works Cited
About the Book
How closely can or should writing centers and writing classrooms collaborate? Beyond Dichotomy explores how research on peer tutoring one-to-one and in small groups can inform our work with students in writing centers and other tutoring programs, as well as in writing courses and classrooms. These multi-method (including rhetorical and discourse analyses and ethnographic and case-study) investigations center on several course-based tutoring (CBT) partnerships at two universities. Rather than practice separately in the center or in the classroom, rather than seeing teacher here and tutor there and student over there, CBT asks all participants in the dynamic drama of teaching and learning to consider the many possible means of connecting synergistically.
This book offers the "more-is-more" value of designing more peer-to-peer learning situations for developmental and multicultural writers, and a more elaborate view of what happens in these peer-centered learning environments. It offers important implications—especially of directive and nondirective tutoring strategies and methods—for peer-to-peer learning and one-to-one tutoring and conferencing for all teachers and learners of writing.
About the Contributors
Steven J. Corbett is Assistant Professor of English at George Mason University. He received his Ph.D. in English Language and Rhetoric from the University of Washington-Seattle in 2008, and he was assistant professor of English and co-coordinator of composition at Southern Connecticut State University-New Haven from 2008-2013.