Fortunately for me, I have a somewhat wide background to work with when it comes to tutoring. I'm a communications major, but I also have experience in English, Science, History and Psychology. This background has served me well with tutoring.For instance, a student came to me with a 12 page lab report for an advanced chemistry project he was doing. Because of my intensive high school chemistry classes, I was able to not only comprehend the scope of the project, but I was also able to enhance his presentation of it.I honestly believe that interdisciplinary studies are invaluable for tutoring. If it weren't for my array of skills, I would feel very one-dimensional in my abilities to help students.
The idea expressed on Page 163, "Focus on three areas of concern in the writer's paper or three specific suggestions for revision. More than that won't necessarily be productive" highlighted a discomfort I have with the working model at the CTL. My previous training engrained the idea that tutor/instructor needed to be very careful not to overwhelm the tutee/student. Thus, as indicated in Longman, I naturally want to stop after about three substantive comments. However, when a student sends in a paper in advance, I am generally able to cover the three main areas of concern in about a half hour. After this point, I always ask students if they need a break to absorb what I have said or if they want to go on. All students have told me that they want to continue, so I do. They seem to get additional benefit so I guess I will just continue to trust that they can judge what they can handle.
It can be overwhelming to think that a student is coming in with a paper from an unfamilar dicipline. However, in my experience I have still been able to have substantive conversations with the writer. I try to make some notes regarding any questions I may have about a particular unfamilar term or topic and ask the writer about them if it seems appropriate in terms of the general clarity or organization of his or her paper. As always, I assure the writer that they are the "expert" of their paper, and in this case even more so. I have found that my perspective as an outside the disapline reader can still be valuable and help the writer be able to be more explicit and reach a broader audience. And as is suggested in Chapter 12, I always refer the student back to there professor or to seek the advice of a classmate if something specific is beyond my expertise.