The lyf so short – The Tutor as Mentor
The lyf so short
By David Werner, Kaplan University Writing Center
The role of the tutor can vary but just as a physician takes the Hippocratic Oath to “First, do no harm,” the same should apply to the tutor and student.
The role of the tutor goes back to Abelard and Heloise. Not only is their story the most passionate and tragic love story in history; but Peter Abelard is generally acknowledges as the creator of the University system with Heloise d’Argenteuil as one of his most gifted students.
In the 12th Century, Abelard formalized the master-apprentice system in many disciplines to, for lack of a better term, shorten the learning curve. About writing, Chaucer said, “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.” So long to learn.
When a student comes for tutoring, the easiest thing would be to give them the answer and move along. The more difficult strategy is to help the apprentice re-imagine the question, re-imagine their life five years from now, and re-invent who they are. These become the most important tools in their toolkits. How and where to find the answers.
These apprentices of today; just as when Michelangelo apprenticed under Ghirlandaio, Ficino, and Poliziano; become the masters of tomorrow.