Post-colonialism student center

In “Post-colonialism and the Idea of a Writing Center”, Anis Bawarshi and Stephanie Pelkowski use different authors and their arguments to shape their own argument of writing centers. In the article, Bawarshi and Pelkowski focus on how the writing centers do not consider the perspectives of the individual student writers but instead acculturate them. The authors criticize many examples of failed strategies that are explored by various people such as Stephen North and Mary Soliday. One of the examples used explains the case of Derek, a mainstreamed African-American basic writer. Soliday argues that mainstreaming allows students to use unfamiliar language to describe and analyze familiar features of everyday language use and experiences. She then concludes that “More successfully than in his past essays, Derek uses a formal language here which subordinates one idea to another to approximate his version of college-level discourse” (85). Bawarshi and Pelkowski question her argument by considering the affects of this strategy by asking questions such as, “What has happened to Derek’s ideas in the process of his learning to subordinate one idea to another?” (85). I believe that the Bawarshi’s and Pelkowski’s questions are logical and practical. Being a tutor in the writing center, I have started to care more about the ideas and perspectives of my students especially multicultural students. Instead of acculturating my students with an American viewpoint, I try to engage in their opinions and outlook on essays they read or things they experience. Their opinions are not wrong, but they are unable to develop their ideas with confidence. Being a tutor, it is my job to teach them how to help the reader also see their opinion in a clear, concise manner.  In Derek’s case, Bawarshi and Pelkowski suggest that he should be able to observe “how his learning to subordinate affects his point of view and experiences” (90). Derek should be allowed to have an option to choose to subordinate or not and he should be able to see the advantages and disadvantages in picking one option or another. Tutors should help students make this critical analysis. Marginalized students should feel comfortable about the discourses and be able to realize that the way they look at things can be shaped by manipulating their writing.  The question that should be explained to students is why something is the way it is and by doing so the students would have a more clear view of what they are learning in their English classes. This means that when my student is having trouble understanding something, I should help him or her by explaining the roots of the thing they are trying to understand instead of directly telling them how it should be. We are not tutors to simply fix our student’s papers but to help them understand their mistakes and analyze different views which will help them in the long run and by doing so, the student and tutor will engage in a better learning environment.

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