Need help with writing assignments?

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Sessions with peer tutors are available by appointment or online.

By Tania Flores

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Do you know you’ll need to write essays for other courses besides English composition?

Whether you consider yourself a decent writer, a basic writer or a “I haven’t written an essay in a long-time writer,” the writing center offers help.  

The writing center in Gonzales Hall provides assistance with writing for any course including personal writing, understanding an assignment, generating ideas, creating a thesis, identifying an audience, organizing and correcting grammar errors, according to a flyer for the center’s services.

 Other services include documenting sources, using various formats, interpreting an instructor’s comments on graded papers, proofreading and helping students learn to avoid writing mistakes, according to the flyer.

Jane Focht-Hansen, writing center coordinator and program coordinator for humanities, explained the value students receive from the writing center during an interview Sept. 14.

 Focht-Hansen said she sees a productive interaction between the tutors and the students. She said sometimes students are intimidated when meeting with faculty for tutoring.

For example, she has observed the encouragement a student gains when the student discusses an assignment with a peer tutor and the tutor is able to say, “I’ve done that assignment and you’re going to love it.”

 When students label a writing assignment as difficult, there’s something important that comes from hearing the tutor’s personal experience, she said.

This process builds the student’s confidence as well as a rapport between peer tutor and student.

She said research proves students who visit the writing center a minimum of three times increase their chance of earning a higher grade.

To encourage students to visit the writing center, a frequent writer program has been created to track each student’s visit resulting in earned rewards after the third visit.

“We’re pretty serious about the learning method and then figuring out ways to help our tutors deal with content in the disciplines,” Focht-Hansen said. We’ve had great cooperation from the faculty because they help us out with the faculty notebook, where they send their assignments.

“This allows is to brainstorm with the tutors to figure out the requirements, prompts and deadlines of assignments. This process makes for better tutors and better students.”  

English sophomore Juliet Trevino, a writing center tutor, said her favorite part of the job is the satisfaction she gets from helping students feel more comfortable writing their assignments. “I like knowing that I’m helping students especially when the light bulb or when it clicks in their mind, like oh, this makes sense”.

Students can receive assistance by scheduling a sit-down tutoring session, online tutoring for students who don’t have time for a sit-down session, and handouts containing writing tips for various writing assignments.

Students may visit the center in Room 203 in Gonzales Hall and make an appointment by calling 210-486-1433.

The center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. It is closed on Friday.

 The center’s website is  www.alamo.edu/SAC/WTCTR/.

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