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Navigation: Main Menu | The Bloody Paper | Nontraditional Student | Fix-It Shop | Grammar Tutorial | More to come!

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Fix It Shop

Tutors often fear working with grammar; traditionally, the pedagogy of peer tutorials has led us to look at larger issues and to make our commentary, in Straub's terms, facilitative rather than directive. Most of us know about directive commentary: we think of Miss Grundy, yard-stick in hand until she breaks it over a student's head while screaming "NO, you imbecile! You have split an infinitive!"

Is it any wonder, then, that writers arrive at tutorials demoralized by teachers' advice or condemnations about grammatical issues? As Williams points out in his infamous "The Phenomenology of Error," many grammar handbooks--and experts!--give contradictory advice or break the very rules they proclaim.

We do not advise giving up on grammar, however; the right approach can lead writers to rethinking larger issues in an essay, and grammatical problems that appear again and again, as Bartholmae's "Patterns of Error" notes, deserve our attention. Glover and Stay, for their part, remind tutors that grammar is as much a way of thinking as it is a method for assessing surface corrections in a document.

In this scenario, Bryan arrives with a long list of "corrections" needed for his paper. Daisy reacts in a few different ways, but listen carefully to her attempt to cover everything at once. Note, too, that taking too hard a stance against never working with grammar can have a detrimental effect on the tutorial.

Actors: Bryan Bruno & Daisy DeCoster
Story Board & Paper: Kristin Adkins, Liz DiPaola, Julie-Ann McMillan