Rethinking our Narratives of "Development"

York University 11 December 2018 Winters College Dining Hall

The notion of the “development” of the student writer runs through writing centre narratives. Here at York University’s Writing Centre, our department’s constitution, mission statement, and practiced introductions with new students all clarify that we’re interested in supporting the development of student writers rather than the perfection of student writing. This frees us from taking on the urgency of our students’ deadlines, and serves as a straightforward rationale for our refusals to proofread work on behalf of student writers. However, it raises significant questions about how we conceptualize “development.”

  • What are the assumptions about “good” or “acceptable” writing that inform our understandings of “development”?
  • How are we communicating these standards to our students?
  • What are we telling them they need to learn or do in order to “become better writers”?
  • What forces pressure us to act as gatekeepers, helping to strip away the aspects of student writers’ languages, cultures, or identities that don’t belong in the academy, and what opportunities do we have to resist these pressures?


9:30 Refreshments & Registration

10:00 Revising Our Welcome: Rethinking Approaches to Translingual Writing and Tutoring

Talk & Workshop

Karen-Elizabeth Moroski, Co-Curricular Programs Coordinator, Writing and Language Communities, Penn State Learning

1:00 Writing Assignments, Expectations, Outcomes, & Pedagogies with Faculty representatives from STEM disciplines

Moderated Panel Discussion

Boba Samuels, Director, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto

2:30 Exploring Genre in Engineering Documentation


Ali Hadidi, York University

3:15 Exploring Digital Frontiers of Scholarly (Classroom) Writing with Students


Brian Hotson, Director, Student Academic Learning Services, Saint Mary’s University & Stephanie Bell, LA&PS Writing Centre Director, York University