3 more simple rules for tutoring scientific writing
Continuing on from my last post…
8. Tell writers what they’ve done well. Pointing out the strengths in people’s writing can teach them as much, if not more, than detailing all the weaknesses. Focusing only on the problems can also send the unintended message that the writing has no strengths.
9. Be as specific as possible with your feedback. Vague comments like, “This section doesn’t work for me but I don’t know why,” “This doesn’t flow,” or “Be more concise” are extremely frustrating to receive, because they signal to the writer that something is wrong, but offer no strategy for fixing the problem. Equally frustrating is when a reviewer suggests changes or makes edits without explaining why. If I can’t deduce the reviewer’s reasons for making edits, I tend to consider the changes arbitrary and toss them.
10. Trust your instincts. The interaction between a writing student and a writing tutor is complex and often delicate. Thinking about the complexity can overwhelm me, but when I remember that my utmost intention is to help and that my good communication skills are one big reason why I have the job I do, I feel better.
Entry filed under: From the tutor's perspective.