Consultants in WRT 098 & WRT 150
The writing center sends consultants into WRT 098 and WRT 150 courses every semester. Working with the consultants helps students to learn how to use the writing center as a resource in any project during their time at Grand Valley. Additionally, consultants are in your classroom to help facilitate peer review sessions. They model to your students how to give good feedback, and they encourage deeper, more reflective discussions among students about their drafts.
The consultants are trained to work with students one-to-one or lead peer response groups. Consultants learn the goals of WRT 098 and 150, and about the portfolio grading system. As the term progresses, consultants are trained to help with a wide variety of writing issues. Read more about the training and mentoring consultants receive.
For WRT 098 classes, the center typically sends a group of consultants every week to your low-tech class meeting. We assign one consultant to your class per five students; the consultants arrive at the beginning of class time and stay for 50 minutes to lead peer review sessions in small groups. The same consultants work with your students all semester long, which allows the instructor and students to get to know them. For WRT 150 classes, the center typically sends one consultant to the full two-hour lab classroom period each week. The consultant assigned to your class can work with single or groups of students out in the hallway while your students complete computer-based activities in the classroom, or they can stay in the classroom and visit each student at his or her computer station, offering assistance and feedback and reading students' drafts on the screen. Other configurations the center can accommodate:
- Sending a group of consultants to your WRT 150 class on a couple of dates before midterms. The consultants can help lead peer response groups for an hour on your low-tech class meeting days.
- Sending a consultant to your WRT 098 lab classroom every week for an hour, in addition to sending the group of consultants to your low-tech classroom.
- Sending one consultant to your WRT 150 classroom for just an hour, instead of the entire two-hour block.
We try to accommodate as many of these alternate configurations as possible, but because of demand, we are sometimes unable to send groups of 5-6 consultants to WRT 150 classes.
Other Services You and Your Students Should Know About
Even though your students have access to Writing Consultants during class time, we hope you'll still encourage them to make use of the Center's drop-in hours, which are available in Allendale, the Pew/Downtown campus, and the Meijer/Holland campus and are open to all students at GVSU. At our walk-in hours, we can help students with any writing assignment they are working on for any course at GVSU. You can promote our walk-in hours by including on your syllabus a blurb about the Center.
In addition, at the end of every semester, the center offers a program called Writing Right Where You Are, which is directed toward supporting WRT 150 students as they put together their portfolios during the last two weeks of the semester.
And finally, the center has developed course materials that you can use in your classroom to aid writing instruction.
Tips for Making Consultants' Visits to Your Classroom Successful
If you're new to Grand Valley and would like to discuss further the ways you might structure the consultants' time in your classes, don't hesitate to contact the writing center. Here, though, are some tips to get you started:
- On the first day they arrive in your classroom, allow the consultants a few minutes to introduce themselves, explain their reason for being in your classroom, and invite students to come to the center for help outside of class time. We appreciate the opportunity to promote our drop-in hours and online services.
- If consultants come to your lab classroom, consider referring specific students to work with the consultant or inviting your students to list their names on the white board if they want/need a conference so the consultant is sure to locate those requiring assistance. This also encourages the students to make use of the consultant(s) as a valuable classroom resource.
- If the consultants are leading peer response groups, it is usually easier for them to elicit more specific feedback to the drafts when the students bring enough copies of their papers for everyone in the group to have one; the consultants realize, however, that this isn't always possible, and they do have strategies for handling groups when only the writer has a copy of his or her paper.
- The consultants are trained to facilitate small-group discussions about student papers; however, the consultants' training assumes that WRT 098 and WRT 150 instructors spend class time talking with students about what makes academic writing successful, why responding to each other's drafts is a valuable class activity, and how to offer useful feedback to each other.
- Take a few minutes on the days consultants come to your class to explain the assignment the students are working on; offer the consultants copies of the assignment sheets. The consultants are trained to find out as much about the assignment as possible before helping a student, and hearing directly from you about your expectations and requirements can be especially helpful.
- Feel free to check in with the consultant(s) during each visit to share any particular patterns you're noticing in the student writing--things the consultant(s) should look for while working with the students.
- If you don't need the consultant(s) to come on a particular day or only need the consultant(s) to come for half the time, please let the center and the consultant(s) know ahead of time; doing so frees up the center's resources.
- If a consultant knows ahead of time that he or she will be absent from your class, the center will try to find a substitute. On occasion, a consultant's sudden emergency or illness might keep the center from finding a substitute, but you will still be notified of the absence.
- Chronic tardiness and absenteeism by consultants will not be tolerated; in addition, consultants should conduct themselves professionally at all times, in their interactions with both you and the students. Contact the writing center immediately with concerns about these issues or to offer feedback and suggestions for the consultants visiting your classroom.
We hope you and your students find working with the consultants effective and enjoyable!
Have other questions? Stop in and visit! Or call us at 331-2922.