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ESL Tutoring in the Writing Center. An Introductory Workshop. Purpose. The Writing Center serves a large number of ESL students--over 280 in the 2007-2008 school year.

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esl tutoring in the writing center

ESL Tutoring in the Writing Center

An Introductory Workshop

purpose
Purpose
  • The Writing Center serves a large number of ESL students--over 280 in the 2007-2008 school year.
  • Though these sessions should ideally function like traditional sessions, the individual needs of ESL students can present challenges for tutors.
  • Tutoring ESL students requires heightened attention to language use, cultural sensitivity, and knowledge of appropriate resources.
objectives
Objectives
  • This workshop seeks to:
    • Review Writing Center Policies and resources
    • Discuss the influence of culture on writing
    • Define the tutor’s role in ESL sessions
    • Analyze HOCs and LOCs
    • Prepare tutors for the rewarding task of working with ESL students
what does the writing center offer for esl students
What does the Writing Center offer for ESL students?
  • Long-Term Tutoring
    • Individualized, semester-long programs to meet students’ needs
  • Scheduling Flexibility
    • ESL students are able to have more appointments “on the books” than traditional students
  • Collaboration with composition professors

You will work with ESL students!

considering culture
Considering Culture

How might cultural background affect tutoring sessions? Writing?

kaplan s contrastive rhetoric
Kaplan’s Contrastive Rhetoric

Kaplan, Robert B. “Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-Cultural Education.”Language Learning 16.1-2 (1966): 1-20.

beyond contrastive rhetoric
Beyond Contrastive Rhetoric
  • Be aware of cultural differences, but don’t expect them
    • Students cannot be pigeonholed
  • A discussion about audience and audience expectation in the US academic system is a good place to start if students are adhering to a culturally based rhetorical pattern.
adding to the toolbox
Adding to the Toolbox
  • US rhetorical style is not necessarily “the right way,” but to be successful in the system, the student must learn to use US style while at MTSU
  • Think of it as an additional tool in the student’s writing toolbox.
  • Fox, Helen. Listening to the World: Cultural Issues in Academic Writing. Urbana, Illinois: NCTE, 1994.
plagiarism
Plagiarism
  • Why could this be a cultural issue?
    • Collectivist vs. Individualist societies
  • Look for inconsistencies in language use and elicit information about the student’s sources
    • “Show me where your words are.”
    • “Can you explain this sentence [or word] to me?”
    • “How did you think of this idea?”
  • Explain the importance of citations and the problems with plagiarism. The most important thing is not to be accusatory.
  • Refer to R&D handouts
plagiarism10
Plagiarism

For Further Reading:

Bouman, Kurt. “Raising Questions About Plagiarism.”ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors. Ed. Shanti Bruce and Ben Raforth. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2004. 105-115.

the tutoring session beginning
The Tutoring Session:Beginning
  • Sessions should begin like traditional sessions
  • Familiarize yourself with:
    • The student (especially long-term!)
    • The assignment
    • The student’s goals or reason for coming to the UWC
the tutoring session read through
The Tutoring Session:Read-through
  • Read paper aloud
    • The student may be uncomfortable doing this, but give the option
  • Avoid correcting during read-through as much as possible
  • Instead, read for HOCs and error patterns to discuss later
higher order concerns
Higher-order Concerns
  • Content and Comprehension are most important
    • Grammar is only a HOC if it interferes with meaning
  • Look at overall organization: thesis, topic sentences, etc.

Barnet, Robert W., and Jacob S. Blumner, eds. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing Center Theory and Practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.

error patterns
Error Patterns
  • Discuss the patterns you identified during read-though
  • Opportunity for teaching
    • Take advantage of handouts
  • Teach Self-Editing: If the tutor identifies patterns, the student can self-edit at home
lower order concerns
Lower-order Concerns
  • Sentence level mistakes come last
  • Line-by-line editing
    • Don’t overwhelm the student!
    • Elicit student participation
    • Take advantage of the student’s knowledge of English grammar
  • Don’t be afraid to “give the answer” but make sure the student retains ownership of the paper
  • Be positive! Point out correct usage
self assessing the session
Self-Assessing the Session

Consider the following questions to identify ways you can be more effective:

  • Were the student’s goals met?
  • Did the student leave satisfied with the session?
  • Did the student schedule another appointment?
  • Did you recommend long-term tutoring or a longer appointment next time?
  • What is the student planning on doing after leaving the Writing Center?
  • Did you provide the student with handouts to take home?
time to practice
Time to practice
  • Read the two sample essays, and consider the following questions for discussion:
    • What do you think should be discussed first (HOCs)? Second? Last?
    • What questions do you want to ask the student? How did you decide?
    • What information would be helpful for identifying the student’s needs?
writing center resources for tutors and students
Writing Center Resources for Tutors and Students
  • Handouts, Handouts, Handouts!
  • Website: mtsu.edu/~uwcenter
  • Grammar books, dictionaries, ESL activity books
  • Recommend Long-Term Tutoring
for further reading
For Further Reading

General ESL Tutoring Resources:

Barnet, Robert W., and Jacob S. Blumner, eds. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing Center Theory and Practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Learner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. 2nd ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. 117-126.

Soven, Margot Iris. What the Writing Tutor Needs to Know. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. 106-110

Powers, Judith K. “Rethinking Writing Center Conferencing Strategies for the ESL Writer.” Barnet and Blumner 368-375.

for further reading20
For Further Reading

Plagiarism:

Bouman, Kurt. “Raising Questions About Plagiarism.”ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors. Ed. Shanti Bruce and Ben Raforth. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2004. 105-115.

Cultural Issues in Writing:

Cooper, Marilyn M. “Really Useful Knowledge: A Cultural Studies Agenda for Writing Centers.” Barnet and Blumner 335-349.

Fox, Helen. Listening to the World: Cultural Issues in Academic Writing. Urbana, Illinois: NCTE, 1994.