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Mar. 3rd, 2005 @ 02:57 pm hi!

I've been a writing consultant for a few semesters now, and I love it. I'm glad to have found this community. ^_^

A question: How do you, as writing consultants, feel when students come in needing a signature for a class but don't want a consultation, and how have you learned to deal with this? We have a policy here that we don't give signatures without consultations. I think this is a good policy, but it often leads to an awkward conference in which the student isn't as responsive.
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Date:March 3rd, 2005 01:31 pm (UTC)

I'm coming out of my lurking status in this community.

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I don't think that's ever happened to me. Not very many teachers require signatures from students who come into the Writing Center, and most of them generally seem to wait until the end of conferences to get a signature. Does that happen to you often?

I think that if I was faced with that problem, I'd probably try to explain the benefits of a conference - after all, we don't MAKE them change anything, so it's not like they have anything to lose by talking with someone for 25 minutes. Or if they refused to have a face to face conference, maybe I might show them how they could submit it to our Online Writing Lab, so they would have definite proof to show to a professor.

How do you generally deal with this situation?
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Date:March 3rd, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC)
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I had this happen a few weeks ago. A particular class required students to come by Writing Tutorial Services, so a student in the class just wanted a confirmation slip. He didn't even have a paper on him, but I told I wouldn't give him a slip unless he gave me at least twenty minutes of his time. He did have an older draft of a paper he had done, and he allowed me to work with him on it. I knew whatever I said would go in one ear and out the other. I just don't think it's fair for any student to just get a slip for "stopping by" when most students who do stop by have genuine problems. If the student wants a slip but not a consultation, then we refuse to give them the slip. We usually never see those students again.
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Date:March 3rd, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
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At my writing center we have "report forms" that we fill out after our tutorial sessions. I've found that if you don't let the student sit there quietly while you read the paper and make all kinds of marks on it, that helps engage them more and keep them from being unresponsive. Even if the student clearly doesn't want to be there, I sit there and try to get him/her to talk and explain parts of their paper to me. After the session, I fill out the report form and the student never gets it. They have a file at the Writing Center and it's just like making a credit card purchase. The white copy stays in the center in the student's file. The yellow copy goes to the professor. So from time to time when we have professors who insist their classes come see us, I'll write right on the form that maybe that's not the best idea. I don't think it's very smart for professor's to force their students to go to the writing center. It just makes it worse for us.
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Date:March 4th, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
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We have these things called "blue slips" that we give out on request to show that a student came to the writing center. On it, we write what we did during the session so that the teacher can know what we worked on and things like that.

If I were you, I'd talk to your boss or the teachers ask them to require more than just a signature if they are going to require proof that students came. Get them to require a description of what went on during the session instead. This way, if someone asks "I just need a blue-slip for extra credit" you can say "well, let's pair you with someone, and they can write what you work on on the blue slip".

At our center, we never turn away a student just because all they want is a blue slip. We'll write in big letters "student came in for a blue slip. We did not work on a paper, but we discussed what the writing center does for future reference" or something. Then we make it very clear to the student that next time they come in, they should bring something to work on.
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Date:March 7th, 2005 09:05 am (UTC)
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Our policy is that we can't give a signature without giving a conference. We have students come in every semester needing a signature, and we tell them that we're sorry, but we can't give them a signature until after they've had a conference. They usually stick around because they need the signature for their grade, but sometimes it's hard for them to hide their disappointment. If they are rude or completely unresponsive, we are allowed to tell them to come back when they are ready for a real conference.

We also have forms for each session; the student fills out the first half with personal information, the consultant fills out the second part with information about the conference. Info from the forms usually doesn't go to the professors unless the student requests this, but a professor can ask whether a certain student has had a consultation.
Date:March 11th, 2005 09:20 am (UTC)

Sign Here

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Another trick we use in our center is to sign with the words "Visit only" or "No consultation"--that way, we still help the teachers who LITERALLY only wanted students to find us, but we don't give the wrong impression to students or professors who see such a signature.

Shannin, "the boss" from Mod Inadequate's Writing Center
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Date:March 15th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)

Re: Sign Here

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Oh, wow. I didn't think we did that anymore, since there was a note on the main desk that we weren't to give signatures without consultations. My bad.
Date:March 25th, 2005 09:20 am (UTC)

receiving tutoring for credit

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Students at our campus can sign up for an English tutoring class in which they receive credit for attending a certain number of tutoring sessions.

If they show up without anything to work on, we give them an assignment, go over it with them when they're finished, and point out some things that they can work on.

Because it's for credit (and a grade), the students are a little more cooperative than when they are just forced by an instructor to come to the center.
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Date:April 13th, 2005 12:47 pm (UTC)
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At our Writing Center, we fill out forms at the end of each session that we send to the students' professors. The form includes a section where we write a brief note to the professor detailing what the session accomplished. If a student comes in only for the "signature"--i.e., to get credit for being there while not doing any work--I will write that the student came in for the extra credit and participated minimally in the session. I don't feel like I have to do this very much, though; usually even the students that want the extra credit they receive for visiting the Center cooperate and involve themselves in the session.