How the Writing Center showcases the benefits of peer tutoring

By Niamh Dillon, Reporter

With more than 4,000 students walking the halls of Lane tech, there is a seemingly endless variety of opportunities, making  it impossible for students to be aware of all of the resources available to them. 

One such resource is the Writing Center. Located in Room 223, the center serves as a free tutoring and mentoring program open to all Lane students. Not only is it a place for students to conference with peers on their writing, but it also provides many resources for those looking for extra help with their writing. 

Initially founded in 2017, the program is led by Lane Tech English teacher Elizabeth Cramarosso and several student tutors from a range of grade levels and specialties. In order to become one of these tutors, students must enroll in the Writing Center elective, taught by Cramarasso. 

“Any teacher would recognize the class as what we call a methods course in the teaching discipline, which is where you learn about how to teach, but in our case it’s how to tutor,” Cramarasso said.

 Lane Tech junior Josie Betts, Div. 351, one of the student tutors, said that the Writing Center is different from a typical editing service — where the focus would be on specific critiques and changes that need to be made. 

For example, instead of the tutors spending the session pointing out comma splices and run- on sentences, they focus on the general writing structure and thought process. 

“It’s really a positive thing because we help improve the writing process, and we talk with you as a writer,” Betts said. “We’re not focused on this one individual paper and grades and stuff, it’s more of a place for you to grow and explore as a writer.” 

Students have the option of choosing a specific tutor to work with, based on their profile information on the center’s website, or walking in and being paired with one of the available tutors. 

The opportunity to meet with a student rather than a teacher is unique because not many teachers have the time to devote special attention to each student. Cramarosso explained that students often feel more comfortable working with a peer rather than a more authoritative figure.

“I think that it is impossible for a teacher to give the kind of one-on-one attention to every single student of theirs that we can give in the writing center. If you want the time for someone to sit there with you for a half hour, that is something that a peer tutor can give that a teacher just necessarily can’t give — there’s just not enough hours in a day,” Cramarosso said. 

Betts also explained that the center is a relaxed environment where students can feel comfortable working. 

“The whole point of the center is peer conferencing: it’s discussion-based and we’re both equals, which makes it more fun and rewarding,” Betts said.
Brayden Trent, Div.753, who frequently visits the Writing Center, explained why it is such a comfortable environment for students.

“The tutors were relatable, more fun, and equally as helpful as teachers,” Trent said. If you ever have any hard assignment to do, it’s best to come to the writing center.”

The Writing Center is a resource open to all Lane Tech students, and Cramarosso wants students to be aware of the availability of the tutors. 

“Before school, after school, during every lunch period — we will help you,” Cramarosso said. “If you don’t have an appointment, walk in. You don’t have to be required to come here, you can come here whenever. We’re here and we want to help you, so come work on your writing.”

Overall, the center is a place designed for students to grow and better themselves as writers, and it is a simple process with welcoming students that are ready to help.

“If you ever have any hard assignment to do, it’s best to come to the writing center,” Trent said.