How long have you worked as a writing tutor at Duke?
This is my second year working at the Writing Studio. I’ve learned so much about such a variety of topics from reading papers and talking with students and scholars from different backgrounds. I also tutor English as a Second Language privately and have taught ESL in Germany, at Penn State University, and in North Carolina’s public schools and community college systems.
Describe your particular approach to tutoring.
I want the writer to have a positive tutoring experience, to feel comfortable, and to believe they are making progress with their writing. I enjoy the part of a session when a writer tells me what they plan to do next with their paper. Ideally, he/she can articulate what they have accomplished in the session that will be useful for them in their next step.
What do you think are the most useful resources at the Writing Studio?
Why, the people of course! After that, all the resources and handouts found on the Writing Studio website. I have several favorite handouts, “Concluding Paragraphs” being one. It is a little humbling in that it reminds us of the importance of telling our readers why they should care about the ideas in our paper.
Tell me about your work with ESL students at the Conversation Café.
The Conversation Cafe is a relaxed and informal conversation group for all in the Duke Community. We talk about current events and topics, American culture, and participants share cultural knowledge about their countries as well. Recently our topics have included health care, Easter, April Fool’s Day, and traffic court. We welcome participants to suggest topics of their interest.
The group offers English Language Learners a comfortable place to improve speaking skills and learn about American culture. We welcome native English speakers as well, for their contributions on American culture, and it can be helpful to pair native speakers with language learners in small groups and/or pairs. Every meeting I learn something new about a different culture or country. It is also interesting to see your own culture through the eyes of another from a different background.
The Conversation Cafe meets Thursdays at 12:30 to 1:30 in the Bryan Center. Exact locations can be found on the Writing Studio Website and on our blog, DukeESLnews at WordPress.com
What do you do when you’re not tutoring?
I like to do gardening-related activities, including talking about gardening and plants, walking around gardens, planning gardens, etc. Sometimes my actual gardening attempts are less successful. However, this past weekend I made a new garden bed for shade plants and ferns. This is always an optimistic time of year for gardeners – before bugs, weeds, and heat take over.
Where and when can writers find you this semester?
This semester I am in room 106 Art Building on East Campus on Tuesdays 10-4, Wednesdays 10-1, and Thursdays 10-12. Conversation Cafe is on Thursdays at 12:30 in the Bryan Center!