Berkeley Will Host National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing

To celebrate its 20th anniversary as a writing center, The Betty-Bruce Hoover Center for Writing at Berkeley has invited over 400 students and professional academics from over 70 high schools, colleges and universities to join the party. On November 1-3, Berkeley will host the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing. Tutors and writing center directors from across the nation will gather on campus for three days to present their research and opinions on such diverse topics as the use of technology in the writing center, how centers can create their own culture and how social issues are involved in tutoring. The conference theme is “The Year of the Writer,” and, fittingly enough, Marty Baron ’72, Editor in Chief of The Washington Post and proud Berkeley alumnus, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Hosting a national conference is just the latest in a series of initiatives the Hoover Writing Center has undertaken to engage writers. Created out of the collaboration between a former student, Kristin Gillis ’95, and Upper Division English teacher Pat Lukacs, the writing center serves as a way to enable our students to better help their fellow students grow as writers. While many writing centers rely on adults as tutors, Berkeley’s program has always valued the peer-to-peer interaction between students, creating a dynamic that is collaborative as opposed to directive. Writing center tutors offer help that is different from, but complementary to, the feedback students receive from their instructors; in other words, students communicate with each other in a way that is different from the way they listen to adults. Over the past 20 years, several different English instructors have served as faculty directors of the Hoover Writing Center, and the writing center now has three current faculty directors and over 80 student tutors.
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