Date: Monday, April 23
Time: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Tutor: Mary Kathryn Healy
Client: Madison Rousseau
Course Title: Political Violence
Assignment: Research Paper on the Korean War
This tutoring session focused on establishing a unique and concrete thesis for why America intervened with the Korean War using Fearon’s bargaining model. Madison came in with a written rough draft which was already read and evaluated by her professor Dr. Donald Beaudette. In his comments, Dr. Beaudette asked Madison to further clarify her thesis and make it more straightforward and distinct. Madison was first confused about what the professor meant so she went to the writing center for help.
Madison’s tutor, Mary Kathryn Healy, is an amazing second-year writing consultant who is especially good at creative and political science writing. Mary first asked Madison for her visiting purpose and then read through the rough draft with her. After that, she asked Madison to verbally express what she actually wanted to convey to the readers through her essay and her understanding of the chosen topic. When Madison talked about how her opinion was formed based on an article she once read, Mary asked her to search for the article and analyzed it along with Madison. Then, Mary shared about how she interpreted the article and how she looked at the topic overall.
What I found very special about Mary’s tutoring style was that she never directly told the tutee what to write. Instead, she would ask for Madison’s opinion first and then guide her to express her ideas more effectively. For example, in formulating the hypothesis, Mary told Madison to follow the general template “if… then…”, where “if” is followed by the condition (e.g. a theory), and then is followed by the conclusion. Mary also emphasized the importance of the consistency between a hypothesis and a chosen theory. However, she did not tell Madison what exactly to write as her theory and conclusion and instead encouraged Madison to think by herself.
After Madison had recomposed her thesis based on Mary’s advice, Mary continued to help Madison check for her word choices and logic flows. The thesis of Madison’s article at this point was “mutual understanding of military power and capabilities increases the likelihood of a preventative war”. After reading the sentence, Mary suggested Madison choose between “military power” and “capabilities” and delete the other because writing both was redundant. In addition, Mary also suggested Madison put the modifying phrase “each other’s relative” before her word choice to make the thesis clearer.
Overall, Mary helped Madison get her thoughts into shape by guiding her through the process of formulating a strong thesis. At the end, Mary also checked the structure and organization of Madison’s essay to make sure that it met the expectations of the professor. One thing that I think Mary could possibly do better when guiding her tutee is to help Madison analyze the topic from different perspectives using various evidence so that the thesis could be more comprehensive.