Montevallo Middle School students recently got individual tutoring from University of Montevallo education students in order to improve their writing skills. The program was planned by MMS eighth grade English Language Arts teacher, Audra Edwards. UM professors in the Department of Education, Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray and Dr. Tammy Cook, organized UM student volunteers who met with MMS eighth grade students in twenty minute sessions to look at their writing samples and point out strengths and needed improvements. They helped the students identify writing goals and shared personal experiences of how good writing skills had helped them in real life.
Ms. Edwards said the MMS students found the sessions very helpful and especailly appreciated getting objective reviews on their writing from impartial strangers.
“He said he liked my creativity and the way I express my ideas. That made me want to write more and better” one student said of the critique he received from the UM tutor. “He said I need to work on my transitions and commas, so I know some things I really need to work on.”
“Even though we ELA teachers focus on these things regularly, when the students hear it from a new perspective and from someone closer to their own age, they have a renewed interest,” said Ms. Edwards. “They appreciated the undivided attention of these writing consultants. The UM students benefitted from the experience, too, as they got more teaching time with students in a real setting. We plan to hold these writing conferences again. They are a win for everyone involved.”