Mentoring Tutors-in-Training: A Peer-Educator’s Role in Shaping Writing Center Practice
By Cara Morgan
This multimodal project outlines a year-long independent study in the University of Maine’s Writing Center to evaluate the effects of a peer-educator in the tutor training classroom. This study addresses new tutors’ lack of confidence by reinforcing student empowerment during training. Peer-educators offer students an emotionally involved relationship with a peer that supplements the existing instruction within the tutor training course. For this project, I obtained IRB certification to study human subjects, collected qualitative and quantitative data, and presented research findings at the 2019 NEWCA (Northeast Writing Centers Association) conference. Overall, the presence of a peer-educator helped students feel more confident in their abilities as writers and writing teachers, and also helped facilitate the transition from learning theory to its application in tutorials. Results also uncovered a positive symbiotic relationship between peer-educators and students.
Cara Morgan is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying English and psychology at the University of Maine. She worked in the university’s writing center for three years as a tutor coordinator and social media liaison, and as a peer-educator for the Fall 2018 cohort of peer-tutors. For her work in the writing center, she was awarded 2019 Undergraduate Student Employee of the Year for her home campus and the state of Maine. She takes pride in empowering her peers and being an advocate for her students. Outside of academics and writing center scholarship, she is an award-winning slam poet and movie buff. Upon graduation in August of this year, she hopes to work as a literacy volunteer, design courses for adult education programs, and someday spearhead a writing center of her own.