On Location: Theory and Practice in Classroom-Based Writing Tutoring

On Location: Theory and Practice in Classroom-Based Writing Tutoring

On Location: Theory and Practice in Classroom-Based Writing Tutoring

On Location: Theory and Practice in Classroom-Based Writing Tutoring

Excerpt

In filmmaking parlance, actors work “on location” when they move from the sound stages, where the bulk of movies are filmed, to sites where geography and social life more closely represent the director’s intentions. The clear connection between the notions of “on location” and “on the scene” suggests the film crew’s submergence in the local environment, community, or culture. When one is working “on location,” exigencies are less readily choreographed; variables, such as climate, local inhabitants, or political conditions, cannot always be controlled. Our title, On Location, marks the movement, or relocation, of tutoring to the classroom, a setting beyond or outside of traditional language and literacy support. On-location tutoring occurs in the thick of writing instruction and writing activity, and on-location tutors operate within complex, hierarchical, contested classroom spaces. Tutoring “on location” means carrying on one’s back strategies and principles for sharing and building knowledge among peers in sites that—in myriad ways—threaten, contradict, demand, and support such projects.

In contrast to the more familiar curriculum-based peer tutoring model, classroom-based writing tutoring describes tutoring arrangements clearly integral to writing instruction—writing support offered directly to students during class. Classroom-based writing tutors facilitate peer writing groups, present programs, conference during classroom workshops, help teachers to design and carry out assignments, and much more. Their instructional sites range from developmental writing classes to first-year composition to writing across the curriculum classes to “content” classes where writing is assigned. Because on-location tutoring extends to a vast array of classroom contexts, its theories and practices have relevance for the many educators across the university who, in their varied and significant roles, advance writing instruction and strive to make writing central to students’ academic work. We therefore offer this volume to faculty in composition and across the disciplines, writing center administrators and . . .

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