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Minimalist Tutoring

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Matt Groner

on 16 December 2014

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Transcript of Minimalist Tutoring

What do we mean by minimalist tutoring?

Value the Text
Value Process Over Product
Concentrate on the Successes of the Paper
Some Exceptions to Minimalist Tutoring Best Practices
"Our message to students should be,'Your paper has value as a piece of writing. It is worth reading and thinking about like any other piece'" (Brooks 3).
"Sit beside the student, not across a desk—that is where job interviewers and other authorities sit. This first signal is important for showing the student you are
the person 'in charge' of the paper"(Brooks 3).
It's okay to have a writing utensil in your hand, but "don't make it a red pen"(Brooks 3). Also, have the student print out two copies of the paper so that you each have a copy in front of you; however, don't write on the student's copy.

Minimalist Tutoring: Best Practices
As minimalist tutors, "we need to make the student the primary agent in the writing center session. The student, not the tutor, should 'own' the paper and take full responsibility for it"(Brooks 2).

There are specific ways in which we can ensure that our students maintain ownership over their written work.
"While student writings are texts, they are unlike other texts in one important way: the process is far more important than the product"(Brooks 3).
"Make it a practice to find something nice to say about every paper, no matter how hard you have
to search. This isn't easy to do; errors are what we usually focus on" (Brooks 3).
While there are a number of ways in which we can implement minimalist tutoring theory, there are several practices that are effective in most writing consultations.
Establish Appropriate Physical Proximity
Have the Student Read the Paper
Resist Marking on the Student's Copy
of the Paper

Brooks, Jeff. "Minimalist Tutoring:
Making the Student Do All the
Writing Lab Newsletter
15.6 (1991):1-4.Print.
"Have the student read the paper aloud to you, and suggest that he hold a pencil while doing so. . . . [These strategies] will bypass those awkward first few moments of the session when you are in complete control of the paper, and the student is left out of the action while you read his paper" (Brooks 3).
In certain situations, it may not be
appropriate to sit too closely to the student.
For some students, reading the paper
aloud can be intimidating or embarrassing.
While you don't want to have a red pen in your hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding a pencil and making notes on your copy of the paper.
Also, sometimes it is important for you to give students examples that they can take with them.
An Introduction to Jeff Brooks' "Minimalist Tutoring: Making the Student Do All the Work"
Matt Groner
Full transcript