Transcripts of Ali_Salerno1

[00:00:00.00] My name is Ali Salerno,
[00:00:03.94] and I am a graduate of the MFA program
[00:00:08.37] in fiction from Ohio State University,
[00:00:10.35] and a former tutor in the Center for the Study & Teaching of Writing at Ohio State.
[00:00:15.39] [ INT: Um, do you have have any stories or anecdotes
[00:00:19.54] [ about how your writing tutor experience
[00:00:23.35] [ has shaped your views of literacy? ]
[00:00:26.13] Um, what comes to mind, uh, most readily
[00:00:30.80] is the experience of working with students
[00:00:34.30] in the writing center feels very collaborative
[00:00:37.79] in a way that working as a teacher doesn't often feel.
[00:00:42.73] Um, I'm a lecturer, um, in first-year writing
[00:00:47.03] at Ohio State right now,
[00:00:48.39] and working in the writing center with students
[00:00:53.38] of a lot of very different populations can give you a good perspective
[00:00:58.18] of the types of issues that different students are dealing with
[00:01:01.04] and gives you a wide range of, um, problems that some of these students have.
[00:01:06.47] But it feels a lot more collaborative,
[00:01:08.87] the working one on one, that one-on-one process.
[00:01:11.53] Um, I can think of particular students, uh, usually international students,
[00:01:16.92] who, there was a lot more hands-on, um,
[00:01:21.83] interaction with them, if--
[00:01:24.34] I had one student brought her computer in,
[00:01:26.22] and it was hard for me to refrain from doing a little bit of typing
[00:01:31.69] uh, when I was explaining concepts to her.
[00:01:35.05] And so this idea that a lot of students
[00:01:37.93] who either need help in a targeted way
[00:01:41.88] or have a more general issue with college writing,
[00:01:45.83] that sometimes it can feel like a collaborative process
[00:01:49.44] that you're helping them along on that journey,
[00:01:51.31] but that also they are kind of relying on you
[00:01:54.83] to provide some of those links that they might be missing.
[00:01:58.12] So in terms of a general idea of literacy,
[00:02:01.03] I think a lot students just arrive at college, no matter what their background,
[00:02:05.08] with a lack of understanding about what it means
[00:02:08.96] to have, um, experience in college-level writing.
[00:02:13.92] So there's this literacy of higher education, I guess is maybe what I would call it,
[00:02:18.86] where students are not used to writing
[00:02:22.59] in as detailed or in-depth way,
[00:02:25.38] and they're not used to privileging critical thinking
[00:02:29.84] over, um, immediate opinion,
[00:02:33.30] and there's exceptions to this,
[00:02:34.86] and I also don't mean to portray this as a wholly negative thing,
[00:02:38.07] it's just not something that a lot of students have looked closely at
[00:02:40.92] before they've, um, arrived at college,
[00:02:42.83] and so you couple that with the added difficulty
[00:02:45.51] for students who are dealing with multiple literacies
[00:02:48.66] because they are international students,
[00:02:51.57] and sometimes the urge for me that I've noticed is that I,
[00:02:55.83] like I said, I'm a little more hands-on when I help them.
[00:02:58.01] So that's something that's been interesting for me to realize
[00:03:03.30] because it makes me reevaluate my own thinking process when I'm writing
[00:03:07.30] because it's usually just me and one person sitting there
[00:03:11.26] working at the computer or working by hand.
[00:03:12.97] But, um ...
[00:03:14.71] when you're helping someone who has a little bit harder time
[00:03:17.84] making those linguistic connections,
[00:03:19.06] you're--I often feel as if I'm kind of that buffer
[00:03:23.73] between this student's ability to master college literacy
[00:03:28.01] and the literacies that they're used to juggling.
[00:03:31.51] And I don't--and that's not an exaggerated, like it's not like,
[00:03:34.71] "I stand between them and understanding,"
[00:03:37.16] but a more just that I'm there to help them,
[00:03:39.28] to help guide them through to that college literacy,
[00:03:42.20] and where they might be starting at a little bit of a disadvantage
[00:03:44.32] than students who come in who aren't juggling a number of literacies,
[00:03:48.29] um, either through actual languages,
[00:03:53.80] like literacy within--cultural literacy among multiple cultures,
[00:03:57.85] and just the ability to ...
[00:04:00.62] uh, navigate college on their own in a new place.
[00:04:04.25] So I've noticed that that is something that stands out
[00:04:07.95] as far as thinking about literacy
[00:04:10.54] in a writing center in higher education.
[00:04:14.04] [ INT: How has that shaped your own writing or your teaching?
[00:04:18.47] [ ... Or has it? ]
[00:04:21.00] Um, I think, in a way it's shaped my teaching
[00:04:25.29] in terms of making me more aware that ...
[00:04:29.12] when I'm at the head of a classroom, I have to sort of provoke my students
[00:04:34.02] to believe in their own ability to work hard on something and make progress,
[00:04:38.88] that my instinct to collaborate with them is strong,
[00:04:44.14] where I think they need to begin to be able to stand on their own two feet.
[00:04:48.28] So that has affected me in terms of bringing awareness
[00:04:51.80] to when I need to back off and let them just explore ideas
[00:04:55.86] and when they might need a little bit more of an intervention
[00:04:59.13] in the way that writing center tutors intervene.
[00:05:01.42] Um ...
[00:05:03.10] and by intervention I don't mean taking over,
[00:05:05.97] I simply mean where you look a lot more closely one on one in office hours,
[00:05:10.26] and that kind of thing.
[00:05:11.60] And it's always good for students to come to office hours,
[00:05:14.43] but essentially in class I have to project an understanding
[00:05:19.18] that these students have the ability, they just need to make the effort,
[00:05:22.53] and if they are struggling, they can come in, and I can help them.
[00:05:25.88] So a lot of times I bring that perspective from being a tutor that I,
[00:05:29.57] I sort of have an understanding
[00:05:31.55] that not everything is as easy as it seems,
[00:05:33.18] but that they have to show determination and motivation
[00:05:39.00] to actually, you know, overcome the challenges that they face
[00:05:43.31] in mediating, uh, the, you know,
[00:05:47.06] college-level writing and literacy in that sense,
[00:05:50.69] the literacy of higher education, I guess.
[00:05:52.71] Um ... so that affects me in that way
[00:05:55.86] is that I have an awareness of what kinds of issues you run into
[00:05:59.50] when you work primarily one-on-one with students
[00:06:01.67] versus when you're at the head of a classroom
[00:06:03.26] with multiple, you know, 24 students,
[00:06:05.62] and they're being, you know, mediating ...
[00:06:08.35] um, that ...
[00:06:11.75] push that you get from students to do a lot of collaboration with them
[00:06:16.34] when really they need to be doing a lot this stuff on their own.
[00:06:18.47] But then also an awareness that one on one,
[00:06:22.06] a lot of students do need extra help.