a blog so you can keep with him

Cultivating Voice – Written Reflections, Week 2

To help encourage conversation, and the habit of writing, my course on tutoring in the Writing Center has weekly reflections to share every week. I realized that this might be something worth sharing on this blog: it relays my experiences and thoughts about events in my life, which I suppose is the focus of this blog currently.

This isn’t due until next Monday (we meet weekly for two hours), but I’ll try to get this up while the class is still fresh on my mind. A note: this is a draft for the course, and will be addressing its audience as such.

Joe Tougas is a neat guy! This week’s lecture/workshop/seminar connected well with our readings (and it would, I suppose, with most things we’ll be reading). The issue of engaging and empowering others stretches beyond the concerns of writing, and the discussion format aided that rather well.

Something I feel we left unresolved (though it really does need to be on a case-by-case basis anyway) was the creating the impression of “voluntary” engagement. How do you converse with someone who’s not interested in conversing? While we moved through this subject from the “tutor’s” point of view, what about the “tutee”? While I would hope that we’d all make wonderful, engaged, passionate and empathetic tutors, how do you deal with the situation in which there isn’t one?

While I haven’t directly faced with this situation in any of my sessions at the Writing Center, it’s something that’s been on my mind in relation to the concept of dialectical power dynamics. How does one go about taking power from an uninterested source, and, on top of that, make them acknowledge and respect you and your newfound “power” in the conversation? A lot depends on the tutor, or the one in power, it feels like. If they’re disengaged, or disinterested from the start, I see there being no conversation, as the supposedly powerless individual has difficulty even initiating dialog.

This carries over to political action throughout history, and reminds me especially of the Civil Rights Era. What steps must be taken to make someone aware of an issue, and then what must be furthered to make them engaged about the issue? How does this change from a beginning position that is generally conceived of as “powerless”?


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