Research Question

What productive work can consultants do when writers bring no written work?


When the student brings in nothing, it’s important to focus on deciphering the assignment sheet and how the student feels about it. Writer’s block can be: subject-specific, developmental, and dispositional. The peer tutoring model is flexible and allows intensive, individualized help for blocked writers. Gathering, connecting, minimalist, performing pathways are, respectively, learning focus, personal gain, little deliberation, and task-focused. Awareness of these pathways can help staff to ask more informed questions. Different learning methods (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) help to consider how student writers think about their work and their writing processes.


We must understand the assignment requirements and brainstorm ideas for writing.


Roleplay as student/tutor discussing an assignment, where the tutor leads through interpreting the assignment or brainstorming ideas.

Impact on WC

Other Files


Reference List

Brainstorming. Chapel Hill: UNC – CAS – Writing Center, n.d. PDF.
Brenner, John. “Quite contrary.” Writing Lab Newsletter 34.6 (2010): 14. Print.
Kendall, Anna. “The Assignment Sheet Mystery.” Writing Lab Newsletter 33.1 (2008): 1. Print.
“Learning Styles.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015. .
Macauley, William J., Jr. “Paying Attention to Learning Styles in Writing Center Epistemology, Tutor Training, and Writing Tutorials.” Writing Lab Newsletter 28.9 (2004): 1. Print.
McDowell, Liz. “Negotiating Assignment Pathways: Students And Academic Assignments.” Teaching In Higher Education 13.4 (2008): 423-435. Print.
Simon, Linda. “De-Coding Writing Assignments.” The History Teacher. 2nd ed. Vol. 24. Long Beach, CA: Society for History Education, 1991. 149-55. Print.
Understanding Assignments. Chapel Hill: UNC – CAS – Writing Center, n.d. PDF.
Wallace, David L. “Using Peer Tutors to Overcome Writer’s Block.” Research and Teaching in Developmental Education 3.2 (1987): 32-41. Print.