Many Macalester faculty hire students as writing assistants or preceptors in their classes, recognizing the value of peer education. To ensure the success of this type of academic support, in the summer of 2015 the Writing Director Zornitsa Keremidchieva collaborated with the MAX Center staff writing counselors, Jake Mohan and Rebecca Graham, to create a curriculum for a series of workshops to provide focused training for writing assistants and preceptors from across the disciplines. The course was designed to meet two overall learning objectives. The training would help such peer educators:
(1) embrace their role as writing assistants/preceptors and become good role models for healthy attitudes and practices with respect to writing;
(2) gain practical experience with strategies and techniques for providing feedback to students in ways that are likely to improve the quality of their writing over time.
Each workshop hour includes elements of focused reflection, hands-on practice with samples of actual student writing, role play of tutorial encounters, and exchange of ideas and strategies for problem-solving concrete challenges. The participants learn how to manage boundaries and communicate effectively in the context of peer tutoring, how to guide their tutees through the writing process, how to help them clarify and organize their ideas, how to revise paragraphs and sentences and, most importantly, how to nurture healthy and constructive attitudes toward writing. At the end of the course, participants receive certificates of achievement to document their qualifications. The first series of six workshops took place in fall 2015 for 21 student assistants and preceptors from across campus.
Faculty who are interested in enrolling their preceptors or writing assistants in this course should contact Zornitsa Keremidchieva, Director of Writing, via email or phone: 651-696-6637.