On March 9, the Writing Center student tutors welcomed President Dekle to their weekly training session, and during the interaction, she identified writing as an AUN advantage.
The President also acknowledged the tutors’ hard work as they diligently guide others to enhance their writing and reading skills.
“The first aspect of being a leader is the ability to communicate. If you can communicate well, you are management material; you will be promoted and expected to lead a team of people. I believe what you are doing at the Writing Center is key to AUN’s success; it’s key to AUN standing out. You are the ambassadors for this place. The more people you touch, the better this is going to be for them and the institution.”
She continued by sharing her experiences as a professor in the University Scholars Program, where she taught expository writing, at the National University of Singapore. President Dekle mentioned emerging trends in English language usage.
“What’s happening now is a change in the way we are using English. What I don’t want you to do is feel trapped thinking that when you break a [current] grammar rule, you are wrong; because English is constantly evolving.”
She encouraged the tutors to help students understand that the Writing Center is not a ‘writing rehabilitation’ environment, but a learning resource for self-development, collaboration, and skill building.
The President shared strategies she used to get her students in Singapore to work harder on their writings, including the importance of drafting, understanding the work each paragraph is doing to contribute to the paper, and using logic to build their arguments.
She ensured they came up with work they were proud of by meeting with them individually and asking if the writing assignment was their best work and were they ready for feedback. All of these teaching moments take commitment and effort on the part of the mentors and the students, she said.
“I really believe in the drafting process. It takes time to reflect and craft an original piece of writing, and it was important for the students to feel like they can take chances and feel safe to receive feedback. It is only when I get that final draft that I can say, has this person moved from the first draft to this final one. Have we seen a move in the needle, has the journey to writing this paper evolved over time? That’s what I am rewarding. The process is vital to becoming a skilled writer.
"Students need to know that we understand and applaud the processes they undergo to master the necessary academic skills, as the focus should not always be on the outcome".
At the end of the session with the Writing Center, President Dekle remarked that her time with the team was an energy booster for her.
“Every time I am with you, I get positive energy from you…. I just absorb your good energy.”
Interim Director, Ms. Emilienne Akpan, said she invited the president to share some of her experiences with the WC tutors because of her knowledge in the field.
“We always appreciate having her with us. She has been here before and every time, we see things from another perspective and learn something new.”
A tutor and second-year Computer Science major, Abuoma Offia, found the session very enlightening. His sentiments were shared by all present.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa