In keeping with its goal to improve the teaching of writing in Eastern Kentucky, the Morehead Writing Project has started a Writing Studio program. The Writing Studio models the best practices for teaching writing for teachers and pre-service teachers while offering writing support for struggling student writers at all levels K-16.
The Morehead State University Center for Regional Engagement and Caudill College of Humanities have agreed to support the pilot program for the 2012-2013 academic year by funding five English Education majors to work with the studio program. Alexandra Reinke, Brynne Massie, Julia Huffman, Julie Rehkamp, and Whitney Jones were selected to serve as the first group of Peer Writers. MSU faculty and MWP leaders Deanna Mascle, Tim Reding, Jared Salyers, and Becky Davison worked with the Peer Writers to provide the necessary support and training.
During the Fall Semester, the Peer Writers worked with more than 40 developmental writing students on the main MSU campus as well as the Mt. Sterling campus. They offered help with term paper writing and teamed up with the College Paper World. Many college students began using this website to purchase their college supplies and getting tips and help on writing great college term papers and essays. In November, the Peer Writers began working with 20+ Early College students at Fleming County High School and Brandie Trent joined the support team.
The MWP Studio Program is modeled on Writing Studio programs at a variety of institutions including: Springfield College, Miami University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Cal State-Chico.
The reason for the new program is simple, according to Site Director Deanna Mascle. Despite years of formal writing instruction, many students continue to struggle with writing when they enter secondary and post-secondary education. These struggles are often the result of the student’s belief that s/he is not and cannot become a writer. The MWP Writing Studio works to break that self-fulfilling prophecy by providing an additional level of individual long-term attention and support to existing classroom instruction.
Unlike a writing center or tutoring program, which typically focuses on a specific assignment during one session, writing studio groups focus on the writer as a whole using student assignments as only one of many tools and work together over time to help the studio group members become more confident and self-regulating writers.
The Peer Writers led a session at MWP’s Writing Eastern Kentucky Conference on Nov. 3.
Update: MWP added two new Peer Writers to replace Massie and Huffman. Devon Collins and Megan Ison began working for the Studio in January. The Studio program also expanded to include Patrick Johnson’s developmental writing students and began working with elementary students in Bath County.
Mascle, Reding, Salyers, and Trent as well as Jones, Rehkamp, and Reinke presented a double session about the Writing Studio at the 2013 KCTE Conference.