ONESELF ON PAPER IS FOR MOST PEOPLE DIFFICULT,
agonizing, frightening; a shattering, tumultuous
ordeal; a small or terrible nightmare,"
writes Jenny Love '91, a contributor to
Working with Student Writers: Essays on
Tutoring and Teaching. "We often do not
write when we should write...we instead
brew a cup of coffee or tea, or make a phone
call, or clean our room."
about writer's block stem from her experiences
as a peer writing tutor at Oberlin, where
strong student writers coach their peers
in the art of written expression. She is
among several Obies who lent essays to the
book, edited by professor of expository
writing and English Len
Podis and his wife,
JoAnne, which offers hands-on advice for
tutors and student teachers. The guide is
the first of its kind to contain pieces
exclusively by peer tutors and describes
the techniques that best helped them tackle
common writing problems.
"One of the most important
parts of tutoring is giving students the
self-confidence they need to be able to
begin writing in a voice that is closer
to their own conversational speech," writes
Emily Fawcett '96, in her essay on conversational
versus presentational speech. Other topics
include the difficulty of science writing,
empowering marginalized learners, the dilemmas
of grading, and the use of "Black English"
as a dialect.
For years, peer tutors
have been enrolled in Podis' course, Teaching
and Tutoring Writing Across the Disciplines,
a popular class in the Expository Writing
Program that draws an increasingly diverse
group of students each semester. Initiated
in 1976 by then-student David Plank '76,
the program evolved from a private reading
class to a regularly listed course and celebrates
its 25th anniversary next spring.
to meaningfully intervene with writers' established
habits and patterns," says Podis. "But when
you can help them improve their writing technique
and make the good even better, then you improve
their confidence, too."
Working with Student
Writers: Essays on Tutoring and Teaching,
Peter Lang Publishing, 1999.
Co-op Bookstore shoppers were greeted with a "closed
until further notice" sign November 8, suggesting an
end to the 60-year store that battled years of financial hardships
following its 1992 renovation. Although the future
of the building is uncertain, students are being assured that
buying textbooks for the spring semester won't be a problem.
Still, the campus community will undoubtedly feel the effects
of the void. As President Dye so aptly expressed, "We are
a reading community, and we need first and foremost a good
OBERLIN FASHION POLICE
wearing clothes bearing the labels of Nike,
Tommy Hilfiger, the Gap, and other manufacturers
associated with sweatshops may soon be targeted
by the Student Labor Action Coalition.
An October fashion show was the group's first
effort in a campaign to make Oberlin a sweat-free
campus, part of a national movement to raise
awareness about poor working conditions. The
College itself has made significant progress
in the fight by writing new labor-friendly
guidelines for college purchases. "If we target
a few companies and expose them, we can force
the whole clothing industry to recognize worker's
rights," said junior Peter Olsen.
performance major Laurie Rubin enjoyed the
well-deserved privilege of singing at the
White House in October in honor of National
Handicap Awareness Month.
Rubin, who has been blind since birth, took
part in a presentation for the Very Special
Arts, an organization that helps launch the
careers of young musicians with disabilities.
"I hope to break ground in opera," says Rubin,
a junior, who sang the role of Rosette in
Oberlin Opera Theater's fall production of
Saturday, May 27, (Commencement/ Reunion Weekend),
the John W. Heisman Club will honor
the varsity teams of 1950 who put together
the best overall record in Oberlin's history,
as well as the women's athletic program of
the last 25 years.