Conflicts in the Writing Center

Harris raises a very important point about the very different cultures ESL students and native English-speaking American students come from. I found, while reading about her ideas, that they can also be extended to other students who go to writing centers for help. It is extremely important for tutors to see the “tutees” as adults, peers of their own age, and not treat them like stupid children. It is important to nudge them in the right direction without giving them the answer.

One of the most important points Harris talks about with ESL students is what they expect from the tutoring. While I do not have any ESL students, I think it is just as important to maintain that line of conversation of “what I am here for, and what you are here for” with regular students. These students are born and live in America, but they may be the first generation in their family to be born in America. In these cases, the parent’s culture is inadvertently passed on to the child. The student might experience similar ideas as these ESL students, about how to approach teachers and tutors. Therefore it is important to communicate “what is expected” from tutors and from the student as well. Not only will that help ESL students, but it will also help other students to form a more general understanding of how tutoring works in a specific institution. Learning and helping can progress more smoothly afterwards.

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About pkmunches

I write. I read. I sing. I eat.
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