Reflections from a University’s Writing Centre
Most students visiting the Writing Centre (a department that assists university learners withe English writing skills) are struggling to understand what the lecturer wants from them. Many students do not understand the topic and they struggle to create an outline. At this stage the consultants are trying to guide the students to manage the structure of the essay and to write a basic paragraph. We concentrate on paragraph writing techniques such as thesis statement and topic sentences. Referencing is another big hurdle. Many of our students are not keen readers and if they are confronted with academic literature, they struggle. Students struggle to apply what they read in the literature and this is evident when they write their essays. Plagiarism is another big issue and it is evident that students do not understand what it is. This is a long and tedious process which will take some time to overcome. We still need to focus on their language and to construct basic sentences in English. We could see a huge improvement in the essays of those students who returned to the centre more than once and applied the advice we provided. A few students still struggle to grasp the essence of their topics and they need much more guidance and assistance. We also gave class presentations on various topics, such as paragraph writing, outlines and referencing. General essay writing was also discussed. Many students found this very helpful and visited the centre afterwards. Feedback from the lecturers was positive and some said that they could see a difference in their students’ assignments. What are you doing in your institution? Do you have a body like the Write Centre? Share your experiences.