The Non-Directive Directive?

a lightbulb in a thought bubble.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Apologies for this week's blog post title. Like many other people across the globe, I was utterly absorbed by the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery last night and am still recovering. 

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the place of directive versus non-directive tutoring in writing center consultations. As it has been with every other Praxis editor, I began my time at the UWC as a consultant. Though my days are now full of article proofs, lengthy e-mail chains about proper MLA formatting, and conference-related considerations (such as IWCA in November), I once spent my time working with students one-on-one, helping them to improve their writing projects and processes however I could. Oftentimes, I felt constrained by the core writing center principle of non-directive guidance; a good deal of recent writing center research deals with this point of tension and its relationship to both language acquisition and identity politics (e.g. Horner et al., Canagarajah, etc.). We have even published some excellent work on these topics and similar intersections of theory and practice, such as Beatrice Mendez Newman's piece on tutoring translingual writers

Indeed, it seems as though our field is experiencing something of a sea change when it comes to balancing tried-and-true principles with an increased awareness of the populations our centers serve. So, with that in mind, what struggles have YOU experienced when trying to balance a non-directive tutoring approach with the exigencies presented by different student populations and assignment types? Feel free to chime in below, in the comments section.