The Shahjehan S. Karim Academic Writing Center aspires to support all writers within the IoBM family, particularly those at undergraduate and graduate levels, and promote an environment in which students’ attainment differences are accepted and attended to. A diverse group of writing tutors endeavor to uphold IoBM’s values of discovery, scholarship, and excellence. We are committed to:
- Helping students at all levels of the writing process.
- Supporting and furthering cooperation among writers.
- Applauding growth and variety of language.
- Advocating understanding of inter-curricular thinking and writing.
- Employing best practices and research-assisted education.
We are of the view that this approach to writing, instruction and research permits us to guide our student community and requires us to grow and innovate appropriately. Tutorials are offered in a one-to-one setting.
Tutors meet individually with writers in the Writing Center to attend to that particular writer’s concerns. The writers who attend the center may come in only a few times for specific help or on a regular basis. Some writers seek help on their own; others appear at the recommendation of teachers. The Writing Center is a relaxed and friendly place where students can work with advisers/tutors who give concrete feedback and advice on how to improve writing. Our advisers/tutors are skilled readers and writers who help students work on a project by assisting them with revising, brainstorming, and/or writer’s block. They can also answer specific questions about grammar, citing sources, and format. They can provide special assistance with particular writing issues or just be the kind of skilled reader who can help to improve students’ work.
Tutors are coaches and collaborators, not teachers
Tutors do not evaluate their students in any way because the tutor’s role is to help students, not to lecture at them or repeat information available from the teacher or textbook. Instead, tutors collaborate with writers in ways that facilitate the process of writers finding their own answers. To accomplish this, tutors may engage writers in discussions of their topics so that writers can develop their ideas and practice the phrasing and vocabulary of the kinds of discourses they will be writing. Tutors may also offer reader feedback on developing drafts of papers, suggest writing strategies, diagnose writing problems, ask questions, review misunderstood or missing information, listen to writers, and help them gain a perspective on their writing.
Each student’s individual needs are the focus of the tutorial
No two tutorials are alike because every writer is different. The starting point of every tutorial is to find out what that particular student needs or wants. To set the agenda for the tutorial, tutors assess the student’s present situation, class requirements, past writing history, general composing habits and approaches to learning, attitudes, motivation, and whatever else is needed to determine how the tutor and student should proceed. Students are encouraged to participate actively in setting the agenda for how the tutor and student will spend their time together.
Writers work on writing from a variety of courses
While the Writing Center complements writing courses by providing individualized help, it also serves the entire school by working with writers doing business and lab reports, term papers, job applications, resumes, and graduate dissertations (Some IoBM faculty members have been approached in regard to looking at content related to various disciplines and expressed enthusiasm and interest in lending support in terms of assisting with the content of the writing). In addition, the Writing Center can provide writing assistance to faculty and staff as well, both with their own writing and with structuring writing assignments for classes.
Future plans in this regard
Outreach programs for the community may include workshops for local businesses, grammar hotlines, writing contests, training of tutors for other settings, and conferences on writing. Recognizing that their tutors also learn about writing and gain professional experience in tutorial instruction, the Writing Center could also offer credit courses for tutor training and acknowledge their role in the preparation of future teachers.
The Writing Centers is available for students at all levels of writing proficiency
The Writing Center does not limit itself to working with writers at a particular level of writing skills. Developmental students can have special programs available for them which focus on individualized tutorial assistance.
There are a number of underlying assumptions which guide the Writing Center’s tutorial approach to writing. In the Writing Center, the uniqueness of each writer is acknowledged as well as the writer’s individual needs and the benefits the writer can gain from personal attention. Even when classroom teachers meet with their students in conferences, teachers cannot normally provide opportunities for the extended, on-going collaborative discussion, questioning, and practice which are the tutor’s mainstays. The function of the tutor, on the other hand, is to provide non-evaluative, immediate oral feedback, to attend only to that student’s questions, and to engage with the student in some active planning, drafting, or revising. The tutor’s goal in working on a specific paper with a student is to help that student develop general writing skills. Tutors often rely on asking questions that help students find their own answers, thereby keeping the tutorial an interactive situation in which the student is encouraged to do as much or more talking than the tutor thereby enhancing their motivation and attitudes.