Cultural Conflicts

Culture often defined as a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group, and often plays a crucial role in the academic achievement of individuals. Muriel Harris sheds light on the importance of cultural influence on academic performance in Cultural Conflicts in the Writing Center: Expectations and Assumptions of ESL Students. Using ESL students as the primary example, Harris discusses how the tutorial experience is often plagued with frustration and miscommunication when dealing with a student who is not a native English speaker. It is interesting to discover how different ethnic groups expect different things out of the tutorial experience. Harris notes that when surveyed latin students said that they expected “to be motivated and told they are doing a good job” while Asian American students stated that they expected “the problem areas within their paper to be addressed, as well as writing editing” (Harris 212). This clear disparity between two different ethnic groups forms the crux of Harris research and investigation. Imploring that, both tutors and students need to be on the same page when embarking on the tutorial and that in order for the best result to be achieved it is crucial that tutors understand that all students need to be approached, taught, and corrected in different ways. Harris discusses how we as tutors can start the tutorial experience by letting the student know that “we look forward to having the student answer their own questions and that answering will make them better writers” (Harris 212). Therefore, we as instructors need to adapt to the students that we are tutoring and allow both ourselves and our students to feel like the tutorial experience is both productive and fulfilling.

Matthew R. Polito

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