In a way, I think that it's almost more appropriate for writing cetnres
to help students develop outlines than for them to be consulted on
drafts.  What I mean is that (from my experience of tutoring) it is
easier to assist the student to think through something, when the
sentences aren't there prompting the student's attention to
proofreading/editing matters instead of larger issues.

As a writing teacher, I also use the occasional in-class essay, and
I encourage students to consult with me about outlines/plans.  We
have a rule that students in writing classes should not be going to
the writing centre, but working with their professor.  It's not a rule
we can enforce, mind you, but it's a useful one for a number of
reasons.  And like Rob, I inspect all "outlines" or notes brought into
the class and  threaten to confiscate anything which is really a
draft.  I don't think I've ever had to.

Another issue for me is what an "outline" is -- almost never having
written a paper to an outline in my life, unless it's making an outline
when the writing of one paragraph prompts me to put down where I
think I might be going a few paragraphs ahead.  I find that many of
my students think that an outline is something that comes very
early in the process of thinking through the paper, and then
complain that they can't write to an outline.   If they can think of it
as a structure to remind them of all the structuring and thinking and
exploratory writing that has already been done, then I think it can
be useful.   One of my better students last term confessed that she
wrote a draft of her essay, extracted an outline from it, and then
took the outline into the classroom to re-produce the draft from it.
She is one who says that she never could write to an outline in any
other way.  We talked about my premature outline idea, and she
thought that perhaps she had been doing that -- expecting an
outline to prescribe where her thinking/writing might go, rather than
to describe where she had got in her thinking/writing.

If you've read so far, thanks for your patience!

                 * * * * * * * * * *
Susan Drain, Ph.D.                      Tel: 902 457 6220
Department of English                   Fax: 902 457 6455
Mount Saint Vincent University          [log in to unmask]
Halifax, NS
Canada B3M 2J6

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