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The Writing Center Journal Vol. 32, No. 1 (2012) Perceptions of Tutor-Tutee Roles Chinese ELL writers may misunderstand how much authority their tutors have; many come from diverse cultures with "rules of speaking that may conflict with those of US classrooms, [which influences] the students' perceptions of their and their teachers' roles in a conference" (Goldstein and Conrad 456). Such students may have preconceived notions about how to approach conferences with someone seen as an authority (Goldstein and Conrad 457). For instance, students may be accustomed to dynamics wherein the teacher initiates and questions (Goldstein and Conrad 456), and the student responds or is not allowed to ask questions. If a student believes she or he cannot or should not argue with the tutor, he or she may feel uncomfortable questioning suggested revisions, which could lead to further misunderstanding. Suggestions for Improving ELL Writing Partnerships Tutors themselves must have a meta-awareness of their consultation style to be able to work effectively with ELL writers. Like teachers, tutors must be aware that their (mis)informed assumptions about a writer's ability may influence how the conference is run. Once tutors observe writers' behaviors, and subconsciously behave "in ways consistent with [their] expectations" (Goldstein and Conrad 456), they may accept less participation from these writers from the beginning of their writing partnership, without allowing writers to showcase just how active they could be. Second, a tutor should not be "blinded by the [tutor's] own conference objectives . . . regardless of the [writer's] reactions" (Han 259). In other words, sometimes tutors may be so concerned about improving their partner's paper that they forget that it is their partner's paper, not their own. ELL writers must understand the slow process that writing partnerships may take and that tutors as well as ELL writers themselves should prioritize higher order concerns, rather than focusing on those lower order concerns for which professors may penalize them more heavily. Some tutors tell their partners from the 55 This content downloaded from 168.150.31.12 on Sun, 06 Nov 2016 20:03:17 UTC All use subject to
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Frances Nan beginning that their partnership will be a . long-term progression, wherein they may not be able to immediately fix eveiything in eveiy essay (Goldman, 29 Sept.). In order to keep one's position credible, the tutor should be clear that, whereas the writer's professor will be grading the essay compared to the writer's peers, the tutor will focus solely on helping the writer develop. Assess Where the Writer Is Now A tutor attempting to develop a course of action for a semester- long writing partnership should set aside the task of examining individual papers and instead ask the writer how much he or she knows about US academic writing. Rather than sermonizing at the writer on the difference between US and Chinese writing styles, the tutor should gauge the writer's level of knowledge by transforming
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