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Title: PowerPoint%20Presentation%20%20-%20%20Transatlantic%20Crossings


1
Transatlantic Boundaries Transforming the
Writing Center into the Writing Centre (Northern
Ireland)
2
Transatlantic Boundaries
  • Transforming the Writing Center to the Writing
    Centre (Northern Ireland)

Part I What we Found Part II What we Did Part
III What Guides Us
3
Presenters
  • Jonathan Worley, St. Marys University College
    Belfast
  • Kathleen Shine Cain, Merrimack College MA

Matthew Martin, St. Marys University College
Belfast
4
Part I From America to Ireland
  • What We Found When We Got There

5
Separated by a Common Language
  • Conference
  • Class
  • Make-up class
  • Professor
  • Grade
  • Diversification
  • Comma splice, sentence fragment
  • waffling
  • Thesis statement
  • (one-on-one)Tutorial
  • Tutorial
  • Rescheduled tutorial
  • Lecturer (dir,head,prof)
  • Mark
  • open admissions
  • Comma fault, sentence fault
  • bs-ing
  • ?

Irish Medium
6
The Students
  • Not as politicised as imagined
  • Perhaps less culturally aware
  • Quiet in the classroom craic outside of class
  • Less experience with essay writing
  • More basic writers
  • Less mired in old formalism
  • More acclimated to Freires Banking Concept
    testing
  • Plenty of good will
  • A gap do we talk about the Troubles?
  • Less independent

7
The Institutions
  • Not same separation of church and state
  • Research mad (RAE)
  • Legally anxious  consequent limitations on
    feedback
  • Marking squashed towards the middle
  • Educational Reforms not always well-informed.
  • Obsessive about monitoring

8
An American in Belfast
9
Teaching Northern Ireland Paul Theroux The
Kingdom by the Sea
10
Bobby Sands Lost to History?
11
Writing Centres The State of Play When We
Arrived
  • More work being done in England than in Northern
    Ireland.
  • Students should know how to write already
     the university attitude
  • We need to do something about this, but what?
    the polytechnic attitude
  • Limited funding. Scraping by with existing
    structures and funds.

12
Part II Implementing the
  • Writing Centre (NI)

13
Our First Model Queens University of Belfast
  • A bustling large university with a sense of place
    and importance mixed background, 800 students
    in English Department
  • A few hundred s here and there for writing
    centre work.
  • Voluntary seminars for humanities students, then
    only English majors
  • One-on-one tutorials for English majors
    (individual conferences) for students
    requesting assistance.
  • One-off seminars in various departments.
  • Last incarnation was professional skills

14
Our Second Model  St. Marys University College
  • Commitment to diversification and a revision
    of the liberal arts.
  • Strong Catholic Identity. Small school 1000.
  • More Students at Level of Remediation students
    are of good will but not necessarily engaged
  • Required classes for all BA students for first
    two years, modeled after 1st-year composition
    courses.
  • Initiation of Peer Tutor Project under small
    grant from English Subject Centre (Higher
    Education Academy)

15
External Review Dr. Susan Dinitz, UVM
16
The Peer Tutor Project Expands to National
Centre for Excellence
  • Coming back from Merrimack College with the idea
    of Writing Centre Fellows in disciplines.
  • Application and receipt of funding for five
    years 250,000.

17
(No Transcript)
18
Why Subject-Specific Peer Tutoring at St. Marys
  • Potentially leading edge
  • An ethos of student support
  • A UK agenda for active learning
  • A verbal culture
  • An institution that attempts to function as a
    small community.
  • Threat of amalgamation need for originality,
    risk.

19
Part III Touchstones
  • Ideas To Which We Continually Return

20
Death to the Banking Concept of
                     Education!
D
21
Opposite Sides of the Same Coin
  • Challenging Reading Produces Good Writing

22
A Four-Part Pedagogy
  • Use a problem-posing model as the primary basis
    for writing in all disciplines (writing to
    learn).
  • Adopt a writing process model for discussing
    generic or formal elements of an essay and
    encouraging process, particularly useful in
    tuition of writing tutors (writing to learn).
  • Begin by teaching in the discipline of
    English and then branch outward to other
    academic disciplines (writing to communicate).
  • Create a grammar style sheet for the university
    (writing to communicate).

23
Tutor Training
  • Practice of Writing Process
  • Practise tutoring with other tutors
  • Discussions of samples of student writing (lots
    of this)

24
Theory To Which we Return
  • Donald Murray
  • Peter Elbow
  • David Bartholomae
  • Kurt Spellmeyer
  • Michel Foucault
  • Belanoffs Right Handbook
  • Lunsford / Warriners
  • Paulo Freire
  • Foucault / Bakhtin
  • Writing Lab Newsletter
  • Gary Tate

25
Michel Foucault
  • I am supposing that in every society the
    production of discourse is at once controlled,
    selected, organised and redistributed according
    to a certain number of procedures, whose role is
    to avert its powers and its dangers, to cope with
    chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome
    materiality. Michel Foucault, The Discourse on
    Language

26
Jean-Paul Sartre tells us in his essay
"Existentialism" that making a decision when
faced with a moral issue is not so easy or
personal as we may think it is "To choose to be
this or that is to affirm at the same time the
value of what we choose." Furthermore, according
to Sartre, any choice we make involving morals
will affect not only ourselves directly but also
all of humanity in general. When we are facing
such an ethical decision, no matter how trivial
it may seem to us, "we always choose the good,
and nothing can be good for us without being good
for all." One would not admire an image of Man as
a cruel, inhumane beast. Ironically, it would be
more humane and kind to kill Mickey to end his
suffering .... Mickey was not born asking to be
raised in a cage as a pet. He was not responsible
for his taming nor for his fatal affliction. I
had taken him and put him into a cage, and now I
had to decide if he should be left alone to
suffer just so that I could cling to the hope
that he may get better and I could avoid having
to mourn the loss of my, pet.
27
Don Murray, Write to Learn
28
(No Transcript)
29
Ian Watt
  • The formal realism of the novel allows allows a
    more immediate imitation of individual experience
    set in its temporal and spatial environment.
    The Rise of the Novel (1957).
  • The context of the individual.
  • The concrete, specific world of the individual.

30
England is Sick, and . . . English literature
must save it. George Gordon, early 20th c.
professor or English at Oxford.
  • (See The Rise of English in Literary Theory An
    Introduction by Terry Eagleton)

31
The Future of NI and the Writing Centre
  • Northern Ireland is a small place where one
    student can make a difference
  • The discourse of prejudice still needs to be
    perpetually challenged and interrogated
  • The ability to read with interest and engagement
    and to write with commitment are an essential
    part of what our students need to develop
  • The practice of peer tutoring fosters student
    engagement.
  • Our peer tutors are only beginning to develop the
    confidence of American twins.

Illuminating Context
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