Stanford-Sydney Doucette Response

            Doucette’s experience tutoring the medical school student is an incredibly powerful moment and leaves me with much to question. In that moment, a simple question was able to spark discussion and then change the perspective of both tutor and tutee. The author of the piece left the center with a new lens to view her issue and her paper. Doucette was in the distinct role of being a tutor who was well versed in some of the issues the tutee presented in the piece of writing. While he admits he had not viewed this problem through this lens, he was still able to provide some insight on the topic that lead to the end discourse.

            However, not all tutors are going to have the previous knowledge that Doucette did into the intricacies of such a delicate topic. From this front, I am very interested in learning more about what he recommend a tutor do. In this class, we have read many pieces and techniques about how to tutor when the tutor is not the expert in the field. Most of the advice on this front has come from staying true to general principles of writing: focusing on general sentence structure and composition as well as broader concepts. Some authors have also stressed asking a lot of questions at the beginning of the piece so the tutor may learn more about the topic and the piece.

While all of these do seem effective, it would still be great to hear from Doucette on what questions he feels have been the most effective and other tips on how t handle this moment.. Without the right questions or the right setup to the meeting, it would be incredibly challenging to get at the heart of the issue behind the writing. I really enjoyed this piece because it challenged me to think about the questions I would ask in a similar setting. How would I broach a sensitive topic if I wasn’t too well informed on the manner but was still asked to tutor. In the paper Doucette was given, it seems that most of the writing is sound in the first place. I think in many ways this made the session easier. Regardless though, asking questions seems to be the best policy to try and further develop the learning experience for both the tutor and tutee. It is only through asking that we can really make Doucette’s wish true and make the writing center a safe and open space.


Doucette, Jonathan. “Composing Queers: The Subversive Potential of the Writing Center.” Young Scholars in Writing 9 (2011): 5-15. Web. 15 May 2012. <;.

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3 Responses to Stanford-Sydney Doucette Response

  1. ZHANG Ruochi says:

    I really agree that “asking questions seems to be the best policy to try and further develop the learning experience for both the tutor and tutee”

    there is a saying that : the hardest but most important thing for students is to ask question, for it’s the common characteristic of successful persons.

    and also, asking question could help the tutor and tutee know better about each other, so the tutor time could be better used.

    ZHANG Ruochi

  2. Maggie says:

    Asking questions is always emphasized as an effective learning skill since it can inspire us to look at the issues from different angles and we can dig deep into the issues though answering different questions. Apart from raising questions which stated by the passage as an important tutoring skill, I think the most crucial job of tutors is transferring the thinking skills and self-studying skills to tutees through the process of questioning. Questions reflect students’ understanding . Therefore, not only do questions help students comprehend the topics but also it lets tutors know how much knowledge tutees receive. I believe this kind of interaction maximizes the learning outcome.

    Chan Mei Ki

  3. louis says:

    Asking questions seems to be the best policy to try and further develop the learning experience for both the tutor and tutee – not only tutee could benefit, but also tutor.

    Tutee could know the standard of themselves after answering the question. Giving a tutorial in a lecture way lose the meaning of tutorial. Tutorial should be interactive and asking question would be one of the best way.

    Tutor could also benefit from “making the question”. Making a question is not a piece of cake. Making easy, simple question bore student and help nothing in improving students’ ability. On the other hand, a too difficult question makes students lose interests on it. Therefore, making questions also help tutor to have a thorough knowledge on that field.

    Li Lok Tao Louis

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