The Hawk Writing Center is based on the principle that peer-to-peer collaboration can produce fantastic results. Tutees collaborate with tutors on literary tasks that they bring in; tutors collaborate with other tutors on in-class writing assignments. Recently, tutors from the HWC had the chance to collaborate with tutors from other schools at the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association (CAPTA)’s annual conference. Several tutors from the HWC had the honor to present projects at the conference, ranging from the best way to organize a tutoring center to appealing to AP students. They also had the opportunity to attend the presentations of other tutors; the collaboration of tutors from different schools was an exciting opportunity for all involved.
Tutors brainstormed ideas for how to improve both the physical and intangible aspects of the writing center. One idea presented was the function of writing centers as a relaxing, stress-free area of the school that should not maintain a classroom environment. This particularly resonated with Hayfield tutors as the writing center should be an oasis in the desert of stress occupied by the rest of the school. Tutors discussed the possibility of painting walls, having a “courage wall”, and arranging the room’s furniture in order to make the writing center a welcoming and inviting place.
Tutor relations was another topic widely discussed at CAPTA as bonds between tutors can help a writing center run more effectively. Ideas presented included the arrangement of tutor get-togethers outside of school hours, “holiday buddies” gift exchanges, occasional parties, and team-building games. Collaboration between tutors is an integral part of the writing center that can make or break a center.
The HWC is eager to begin to implement new ideas and concepts that were brainstormed at CAPTA, including hosting “de-stress events” and possibly expanding the HWC’s hours to include SOAR time as well. All of the HWC tutors that attended the 2016 CAPTA conference were grateful for the experience and are very excited for next year!