Wednesday, September 30, 2009

9/9 Jeff Brooks "Minimalist Tutoring"

What were your reactions to this reading? How might these ideas help you as a tutor? How might these ideas help you as a writer?


  1. I love this article! I think it speaks to me both as a writer and what I expect of an ideal tutoring or rather writing discussion session. The assumption that most student writers need the time pay attention and revisit their draft is so important. Having a session where one can simply point out a section of the paper and the student re-reads it and says "yeah, I need to re-word that...or I don't really have a thesis statement do I?" is great. I know I myself as I writer am greatly benefited when I can revisit something a wrote after some time has passed and I catch a host of things to improve on that I wouldn't have otherwise.

    What is difficult with the "minimalist" approach is that sometimes it is hard for the student to feel comfortable leading the session or catching their own mistakes. They may be looking for you to be an expert who tells them everything they need to do without any imput from them.

    I try to assure all the students I meet with that they have something important to say and that writing gives them a unique space to share there ideas--and they are the expert--of those ideas. Sometimes I see students leave feeling empowered, othertimes they may leave probably thinking I am crazy. :)

  2. I too loved this article. I think Jeff Brooks really offers some fantastic ideas with the minimalist approach that work in guiding the student to realize that we are not editors or proofreaders. I really loved the part where he talked about copying the behavior of the student - if the student slouches and pushes the paper in front of you, slouch and push it back. That sounds so funny, but in my first few sessions, I have found that to be one of the best techniques for getting the student to take control of the session.