They're not tutors. They're not proofreaders. They're peer advisors.
This new team of Upper School students is the product of Sara Primo's Essentially English course "Peer Writing Advisor Training." Peer Writing Advisors, currently nineteen 11th and 12th graders, work with other students to help them develop their ideas, and to encourage the notion of writing well as a process, rather than a race to the finish.
Sara wants students and teachers to know that the work of the Peer Writing Advisors does not just apply to English class assignments, and it not just for Upper Schoolers. Already this year, Peer Writing Advisors have visited history classes, and they're poised to take on writing assignments in language classes as well. June Gondi, the Middle School coordinator for this program, is working to create more opportunities for class visits and even workshops in the Middle School. June and Sara's goal is for it to be an accessible, ongoing resource for grades 6 through 12.
"It's about ideas, not just about editing," Sara explains. Here, the Peer Writing Advisors explain what they do in their own words:
"We're people who serve as 'mirrors' for others' minds."
"This class is a training course in how to work with people when revising their work. We learn not only how to revise in the literal sense (grammar, format, etc.) but also how to relate to our peers; how to make them feel comfortable; how to not overstep boundaries."
"We can help with any stage in the writing process, and we are all friendly."
"We are here as a sounding board for their ideas. We're not there to write the essays or assignments. The advisee has the power, not us."
"We're basically a group of students who you can talk through your ideas with. (There's a) conversational aspect... We aren't just proofreaders."
"We are advising people on their writing. We ask what they want to work on and then help them... express their ideas more fully."
"The PWA program is a program that provides students with a healthy environment to improve as writers with the help and support of a peer."
If you're a student interested in working with a Peer Writing Advisor, you can make, cancel, or modify Peer Writing Advisor appointments by logging into the scheduling system here and using the username/password from your GFS account.
If you're a teacher who'd like to connect with the Peer Writing Advisors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a current tenth or eleventh student who'd like to become a Peer Writing Advisor, please stay tuned in February when the Essentially English courses are publicized.