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Connecting with the Student

The students who participate in consultations at the Writing center vary widely not only in their writing abilities but also in their characters. This is not surprising but it is important; as writing tutors we must prepare ourselves to meet the needs of students who express a variety of different character traits when participating in a consultation.* In order to do this it is necessary to learn how to connect with each of these students. The focus here is on the importance of compassion in consultations, an idea that Katie Gilmartin elaborates on in a piece called “Working at the Drop-In Center.”

As Writing Fellows who no doubt care about the students we assist, this is not a difficult idea to accept but it may be a difficult goal to accomplish. This need to establish trust and show compassion for each student has been mentioned briefly in a few other Wiki stubs but here I would like to give some detailed suggestions regarding how to build this relationship with various students. As I am basing these suggestions primarily on my own experiences this section will likely have gaps for others to fill.

*When speaking of student characteristics I mean to refer specifically to how a student behaves during a consultation, recognizing that they may act very differently outside of this situation


Some General Characteristics

Note that in many cases a student may have multiple characteristics and thus require a mixture of the different strategies mentioned in each section.

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