What do pumpkins and horse racing have in common? The inaugural peer writing tutor linkup between Stanford University and the University of Sydney. Not only is this linkup the first-of-its-kind, but it occurs on a rare day when a major American holiday (Halloween) and a major Australian sporting event (the Melbourne Cup) coincide.
Halloween is not a huge deal to Australians – it is a commercial holiday enjoyed by a handful of children in a small number of communities. The Melbourne Cup, on the other hand, is Australia’s richest horse race and a major sporting event in Australia. We call it ‘the race that stops a nation’.
The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November, so it only rarely held on the day after Halloween. Further, given the time differences, at the time our peer tutors link up, it will be Halloween at Stanford and an hour before the big race in Australia – I’ll leave it to greater mathematical minds than mine to figure out how often the day after Halloween is the first Tuesday in November.
So, this unique holiday / sporting event leads to an interesting linkup.
From Ben (writing hub associate director in Sydney): Personally, I’ll take the carnivalesque approach and throw tradition and authenticity out the door. I’ll be in a Halloween costume and draw a sweepstakes for our students. I’ll be munching Halloween candy and cheering horses. I’ll be a confused crosscultural rhetorician (then again, confusion might be a healthy state for a crosscultural rhetorician).
From Julia (writing center associate director at Stanford): With that introduction, it would be remiss of me not to also come in costume. Let’s hope I won’t be alone! Also, Andrea Lunsford will be joining us for the exchange.
Can the peer tutors on either side of the Pacific begin the introductions before the linkup by leaving a comment below that answers one of the following questions:
• why is Halloween so big in America but celebrated less in Australia?
• do you think peer tutoring would be different in another country? why?
• what are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a peer tutor?
And don’t be shy… if someone posts something interesting, ask them a question or respond to them.
On the day of the linkup, we’ll be designing a peer tutor training program and posting our designs as responses to this post. So check back soon and scroll through the comments to see some of the great ideas that emerge from the inaugural Peer Tutor linkup.
Ben (aka ‘that Sydney instructor who embarrassed himself by impersonating JFK during the last linkup’)
& Julia (aka ‘the Stanford instructor who will likely embarrass herself by being the only person in the room in Halloween costume’)