Blocking Writer’s Block



Students tackle writing troubles togetherwritting


By Shams Haidari – Reporter



You sit at your desk, tapping your chewed-up pencil against a desk, and staring at a blank sheet of paper. Diagnosis: extreme writers’ block. Up until now, the only way to cure it has been to sit at that desk until you can power through it. However, there may finally be a solution to this horrid case.

Ms. Broad and Ms. Ludwig are currently heading the effort to create a Saxon Writing Center, a program that aims to give some students the opportunity to “improve their own writing while helping others” by giving them the opportunity to become tutors, and to “give students a comfortable atmosphere” to advance their writing skills, according to Ms. Broad.

If all goes as planned, the Saxon Writing Center should be a Saxon Time destination for both the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year and 2010-2011 school year, before becoming the “Advanced Composition/ Peer Tutoring” class in the 2011-2012.

The plan behind the creation of a Saxon Writing Center is largely modeled after a similar program at Edison High School Academy, which 13 Langley students, as well as Ms. Ludwig and Ms. Broad, observed during a visit to the school last year. Since that visit to Edison, the idea of student-led writing centers has begun “exploding throughout the county,” according to Ms. Broad, who cites the presence of similar writing centers in other Fairfax County Public schools.

However, the most interesting feature of the Saxon Writing Center may not necessarily come from the long-term plans that the program has, but rather the fact that the program is so willing to accept tutors who are not members of English Honor Society. In fact, the application for tutors in the Saxon Writing Center shows no preference towards members of the English Honor Society—although Mrs. Broad says she does “imagine there will be cross-over” of English Honor Society members into the Saxon Writing Center.

The Saxon Writing Center’s willingness to accept sophomores and other students who are typically ineligible for participation in honor societies may not only lead to the success of the Saxon Writing Center, but also provide an example for other departments hoping to create tutoring programs, because it allows students to find an opportunity to help other students and gain recognition for their work, without having to jump through all the hurdles of honor societies.

“I think it is a great opportunity for students to use their time to help their community,” said sophomore Debbie Pan of the Saxon Writing Center.

However, in the end, the goal of the burgeoning Saxon Writing Center is not to revolutionize the way in which other departments lead tutoring programs or to provide non-Honor Society members a way to stock up their résumés, but simply to create a center that “will really benefit teachers and students alike,” according to Ms. Broad.