Tutors contribute research at writing conference

Vanessa Oceguera
Staff Writer

Ten University of La Verne student tutors from the Academic Success Center presented their research at the 12th Southern California Writing Centers Association Tutor Conference Saturday at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.

The conference invites tutors from different writing centers in Southern California to present for other writing tutors, Director of the center Matt Nelson said.

“It’s really about being a writing center tutor,” Nelson said. “They’re all talking about the different aspects of being a tutor or different approaches or different issue that come up. It’s by tutors for tutors.”

Tutors presented at five different session throughout the day.

The ASC tutors shared three presentations including “Rhetorical Awareness and Writing Anxiety: Social Versus Academic,” “The Role of the Classroom Experience in Writing and Math Anxiety” and “Rethinking the ‘Tutor as Editor’: An Argument for Grammar-Based Tutor Training.”

They first submitted their proposals on different topics in writing to the board.

Once accepted, the tutors were given the opportunity to present at the conference with dozens of other college tutors from across the country.

As the vice president of the SoCal WCA, Nelson helped plan the conference and pushed the tutors to submit proposals and continue their research.

“We want our tutors to get a lot of professional and intellectual development from working here,” Nelson said. “This (conference) is one of those opportunities we feel gives them the chance to do that.”

Junior English majors Alejandra Marquez and Emma Saturday, sophomore English major Emily Elvoid and sophomore accounting major Catalina Lee Kim presented on the varying levels of anxiety students feel when writing academically and socially for social media and text messages.

“The fact that we are presenting is an amazing opportunity,” Marquez said. “Students are way more anxious and worried about writing academically versus socially on social media because they don’t feel the same pressure that they do in academic writing.”

Her group also discussed how they can help students learn to work well through that anxiety.

Marquez began tutoring writing in the fall of 2014.

She first got involved in tutoring after taking a class in writing and the theories of it.

The class got her really interested in writing and working with the students is one of the best parts of being a tutor in the ASC, Marquez said.

“I learn something new every time I go in there,” Marquez said.

Junior math major Lyndsey Wong, junior biology major Kaylee Cruz and junior economics major Paige Graves presented on the experiences and anxiety students face in a math class versus a writing class.

They created a survey and went to different entry level math and writing classes at the University.

Students were given the survey to fill out.

The survey asked the students questions like whether they preferred math or writing, and whether they excelled in math or writing, Wong said.

Unfortunately, writing is often the cause of much anxiety for many students, Wong said.

After they got the results, they used Excel, and with the help of a statistics tutor, they found correlations in the data, Wong said.

“We found that students who said they excel in and prefer math, didn’t have math anxiety,” Wong said.

“The students who said they excel in and prefer writing said they still have writing anxiety.”

Wong said she enjoys being a math tutor.

“I just like helping people see math how I see it and understand the problems like I do,” Wong said.

Senior business administration major Lauren Gregory, junior English major Andrea Mujica and sophomore history major Sarah Ouhida presented on tutor training that involves grammar tutoring and instruction.

“This kind of work is unique for them because it’s an academic field that takes seriously their contribution even as undergraduates,” Neslon said.

“That scholar practitioner model allows them to participate in the intellectual endeavor of the academic field that maybe they’re not permitted to in other fields because they don’t yet have the expertise.”

Vanessa Oceguera can be reached at vanessa.oceguera@laverne.edu.

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