Quinn Blackley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As writing tutors from BYU's Research and Writing Center (RWC) and preservice English teachers, we wanted to leverage our unique experiences as tutors and future teachers to build sustainable secondary school writing centers in Utah. We understand the benefit that peer tutoring is to all participating students, and we were disappointed to learn that very few writing centers exist in Utah secondary schools. Mentored by an English education professor and the director of the RWC, we proposed a project guided by our primary research question: How can universities partner with secondary schools to build and sustain peer writing centers? We wanted to know how we could support teacher-directors, develop training for new tutors, and work together as a partnership that benefits participants at both secondary and postsecondary institutions. Following the principles of participatory action research, we formed a partnership with teachers, administrators, and student tutors at Provo High School, which introduced a writing center course for students just this year. In this project, we are both researchers and participants, working together with our partners to identify the context-specific needs of this emerging writing center and to develop resources as necessary. Using action, research, and reflection, we and our school-based partners work together to build a program that can be sustainable and potentially replicable in other secondary settings. So far, our actions have included preparing and delivering tutor trainings and sharing additional resources to begin and sustain a new writing center. We have used student and teacher-director feedback to inform our lesson-planning decisions and to improve the quality of our trainings. Our learning from designing and enacting the original project grew into the Secondary School Writing Center University Partnership (SSWCUP), a model we hope will enable future collaborations. SSWCUP aims to not only foster a relationship between the BYU RWC and secondary schools in Utah Valley, but identifies and includes additional participants invested in peer collaborative learning, which is foundational to writing center work. Our partnership is modeled after the one implemented by Deans and Courtmanche at the University of Connecticut. But rather than being a partnership totally dependent upon the university, as the UCONN model is, we wanted members of our partnership to be in connection with and support of each other to ensure equal participation and sustainability. Our network of partners includes the BYU English Teaching program, the Secondary School Writing Centers Association, and The Journal of Peer Tutoring in Secondary Schools. By creating a network through which these organizations can interact, SSWCUP aims to build a collaborative community that supports, enriches, and expands writing center work. This network is a model that other universities, their local secondary schools, and other relevant writing organizations can adopt.
University / Institution: Utah Tech University
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Amber Jensen
Location: Sill Center Conference Room (9:00am)