consulting scenarios

Here are some of the consulting stories that Dodie has come up with (and which we’ve used in our staff meetings).  I figured I’d post them here, so I wouldn’t lose them, for one, but also because I want something to remind me to post the scenarios I’ve come up with, as well.  

And now off to see Order of the Phoenix at 2:55pm!

Consulting Scenarios

Your 2 pm appointment comes in with a paper for her U.S. History class. The main point of the paper seems to be that the Holocaust never occurred. The sources the student is using argue that the Holocaust was invented by Jewish Americans to convince Europe and the United States to support the formation of Israel. What do you do?

The student you are working with is writing a personal narrative. In the draft, she writes that her parents sexually abused her. She writes about the most personal aspects of her life, including becoming addicted to drugs and living on the street. While the subject matter is very powerful, the writing is often confusing. You get lost in certain sections of the paper. In one section, for example, you are uncertain whether it is her mother or aunt who is burning her with a cigarette. How do you work through this paper? What strategies do you use?

An ESL student sits down with you.  He smiles and is quite enthusiastic. He begins to explain his paper, but he speaks quickly and with something of a lisp. The words seem to blend together, and you struggle to pick up anything he says. Not only do you have trouble understanding his pronunciation, but also he has problems understanding you. What do you do?

You sit down with a student who is writing an essay for a history class. When you read the assignment sheet, you see that the instructor wants a five-paragraph essay.  The first paragraph, for instance, must be five sentences (no more, no less) and structured with a topic sentence, a first point, a second point, a third point, and then a thesis. You’re used to looking at more “open” kinds of assignments and are surprised by the strict structure the instructor had laid out. The student, who took English 101 with an instructor who didn’t teach writing this way, is confused. How do you explain the difference to her? What do you recommend she do?

A week later, you find out the student decided to write the essay only loosely following the instructor’s format. When the instructor asked the student why she didn’t use his simple formula for writing the essay, she said, “The Writing Center told me those were just guidelines.” What is your reaction to this? Is there anything you would say or do?

A student you have worked with a couple of times brings in a paper which seems quite a bit better than she is capable of writing. In the past, this student had trouble organizing her thoughts into paragraphs and even writing clear sentences.  This paper, however, has clearly been written by a polished writer.  The ideas are very complex and organized beautifully, the writing is clean, and the conclusion is one of the best you have read.  You suspect the paper is plagiarized.  What do you do?  What might you say to the student?

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