These personal experiences, as well as my reading for English 376, have led me to propose a compromise between the balanced collaboration of the tutor and writer in the writing center conference and the writing center conference that is controlled by and centered around the writer. The first theory of collaboration is somewhat idealistic, as any true balance between two powers is. The second theory is what Andrea Lunsford calls the idea of the "Garret Center," or the Writing Center where the individual writer, who possesses individual "genius," controls the conference (Lunsford, 37-8). The first theory of true collaborative learning can be defined as the belief that "writing is a social artifact," (Bruffee, 89) or that the thought processes used in writing are acquired solely through interaction with others. Kenneth Bruffee, in his article "Collaborative Learning and the Conversation of Mankind," shows that the writing center fits into this definition because the "tutee brings knowledge of the assignment and the tutor brings sensitivity to the needs and feelings of peers and knowledge of the conventions of discourse and of standard written English" (Bruffee, 90). Here, both parties bring something to the conference to collaborate on. I agree with this aspect of collaboration.
Bruffee and the other proponents of collaboration call for interaction between the tutor and the writer that is strictly balanced so that one does not have any authority or control over the other, and so that the control is placed in the "negotiating group" (Lunsford, 41) and not in one of the individuals. This control by the group causes the origin of knowledge to be social. This strict balance of control is what I see as highly idealistic, unreachable and undesirable in a conference. An opposing view to this truly balanced collaboration is what Lunsford describes as supported by Peter Elbow and Donald Murray is the Garret Center, where the conference is controlled by the writer, and "essentially serves as the validation for the students' `I-search'" (Lunsford, 38). In this view, knowledge is seen as a solitary act that is isolated or internalized inside the student writer. If this was true, then why would universities have classes? If knowledge is only found inside an individual, the most logical form of study would therefore be independent study. Classes involve the interaction of peers that helps to broaden students' views and that socially constructs knowledge.
Knowledge originates from the individual and
is socially constructed--the two theories need to be combined in order for
them to make sense. Therefore, because of my personal experiences, my research
and the results to my e-survey, I am proposing a theory of conferencing
that is generally student writer-centered, but that is also collaborative
since the tutor plays a driving force to motivate the student to be intimately
involved with his/her paper.
To the Background of My Proposal
To Results to E-Survey
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