Like Clara mentioned in a recent post, conferences are a valuable part of the college experience because we get to explore our passions and find out what other colleges or organizations are doing in our fields of interest. Yesterday, six members of our Writing Center staff, myself included, attended the Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association conference in California, Pennsylvania.
The morning part of the conference consisted of sessions in which students and Writing Center directors from other schools shared their most recent research. I attended two sessions about working with non-native English speakers and one on the various roles that a Writing Center tutor might take on during a session. I especially enjoyed the very first session that I went to because it was a round-table discussion about working with ESL students, so the session took on a dialogue format and I was able to both contribute some of my favorite tactics and learn from various staff members at other schools.
The keynote speech took place after lunch, and the speaker addressed the importance of remaining inquisitive and not simply accepting a well-known narrative about our workplace. She questioned, for example, the tactic of reading out loud in the Writing Center and whether more research needs to be done about the usefulness of that tactic.
The basic message of her speech, to constantly question what is accepted as the norm, applies to my general outlook on college life. This time is for us to find what we are passionate about, conduct research, and question answers!