· Bring in a psychology-related magazine article, along with the primary source article on which
it was based. Have the students compare the two and discuss the accuracy of reporting.
For an example of an agenda for the first meeting provided by Shelley Carson, please see
3.1.2 In-Class Writing Exercises
As discussed in the previous section,you can use informal,low-stakes writing assignments to get
your students going and launch a discussion about writing. You might have them try some writing exer-
cises and then discuss them as a group. You could also create your own worksheets or examples for them
to discuss. For example, you could write a few paragraphs that incorporate many common mistakes and
ask the students to find them and discuss what was wrong and how to improve the writing.
3.1.3 In-Class Peer Editing Exercises
Although you will undoubtedly spend a lot of time coaching individual students on their writ-
ing (see Conferences with Students below), you need not be your only source of feedback for your stu-
dents. They can learn a lot from each other. Furthermore, by taking an objective role with respect to
classmates' work,they can step outside their own perspective and acquire a broader view with which to
look back on their own work. Students often comment that they learn a great deal from in class editing
Some tutors pick a couple of anonymous papers turned in by students and discuss them with the
entire class. Others set students up in pairs, have them read drafts of work on the Sophomore Essay in
advance, and then have students take turns in class playing author and editor so that each student has
the opportunity to acquire a new perspective both by assuming an objective role for someone else and
by having someone else offer new insights to them. The Bok Center provides guidance on how to set up
such exercises; a sample set of instructions to students can be found in Appendix K.
3.2 Conferences with Students
You will probably find that you end up meeting with many of your tutorial students regularly.
Some tutors even require regular meetings with each student. Your conferences could be anything from
a brainstorming session to a review of a draft to extended writing help.
In order to hold an effective session about a paper, consider asking the student to bring in spe-
cific questions regarding his or her work. Instead of simply reviewing what you have already covered in
your comments, the student can ask for clarification of comments or examples.
In a less formal brainstorming session,try engaging the students by asking questions about what
they are interested in and listening for patterns in what they say. Be sure to help them narrow down their
ideas. In a half-hour meeting you can help a student go from "I think I'm interested in development and
in biology" to a specific thesis from which to work. If it is a field you know you can send them off with
a few key references or researchers, and if not you can suggest key words to use in an initial reference
search. See the handout by Eric Driver-Linn (Appendix J) for more ideas about helping students find a
Don't be afraid to set limits on meeting time, especially if you have students who tend to spend
a lot of time with you individually. When the time comes to end the meeting, do it.
A TF's GUIDE TO TEACHING WRITING FOR PSYCHOLOGY