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Articles on Tutoring

Listed below are articles on this topic from the Campus Writing Program library. Short summaries and citations are provided when available.


Almasy, Rudolph. "The Nature of Writing-Laboratory Instruction for the Developing Student."Tutoring Writing. A Sourcebook for the Writing Lab. Ed. Muriel Harris. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982. 13-20.

Examines 4 assumptions made about the teaching of writing, and relates these 4 assumptions to tutorial instruction in a writing lab. The 4 assumptions to improve writing: a writer must talk to/understand the reader; a writer must understand and engage in the processes of invention; a writer must write when she's ready to write; a writer must interact with the written product. All of these ways to improve writing can happen in a writing lab, and fit well with how lab instruction typically happens.

Berry, David W. "Silences in the Writing Center: Avoiding Babble for ESL Students."The Writing Lab Newsletter. 23.9 (1999): 6-7.

One problem with tutoring ESL students is that tutors often use too many words to explain a point. Often, the student may still be processing the first explanation while the tutor offers a second explanation meant to clear up any confusion. Three solutions present themselves: use fewer words, use gestures and facial expressions, and use silence. Of the three, the last is the most highly recommended. ESL students anticipate that they will have difficulty with articles and modifiers; having the tutor correct these in silence will allow the student to reflect on the reasons for the corrections. In a best-case scenario, tutor and student will take turns correcting the errors.

Blau, Susan R., John Hall and Tracy Strauss. "Exploring the Tutor/Client Conversation: A Linguistic Analysis."

Using conversation analysis, this study of 10 graduate student tutors examined the use of questions, echoing, and qualifiers in tutoring conversations. The study questions the current notion of the ideal tutorial--a collaborative effort between tutor and client--and suggests that as writing tutorials become more professionalized, true collaboration becomes impossible. In addition, during some tutorials where collaboration is attempted, the tutorial itself can suffer. At the same time, however, conversation analysis may prove useful in discovering the ways that collaboration can occur in the tutorial situation, and the authors recommend further study.

Boquet, Elizabeth H., "`Our Little Secret': A History of Writing Centers, Pre-to Post-Open Admissions." CCC 50.3 (1999): 463-482.

Starting with an anecdote in which a student enthusiastically talks about an idea given to her by a tutor, Boquet offers a brief history of the writing center in order to reveal that writing centers are torn between identity as a site and identity as a method of instruction. At the same time, the implications of these tensions are not well-documented, and Boquet calls for more rigorous inquiry into the nature of these tensions and their pedagogical implications.

Brostoff, Anita. "The Writing Conference: Foundations." Tutoring Writing. A Sourcebook for Writing Labs. Ed. Muriel Harris. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982. 21-26.

Suggests ways tutors can approach an initial tutorial with a student and how to establish a good relationship between tutor and student. Reviews good listening, discusses questions to ask to determine student's writing level, what type of help is needed, what writing process the student usually goes through. Moves from easy factual questions to more personal, possibly anxiety-producing ones.

Carnicelli, Thomas A. "The Writing Conference: A One-to-One Conversation."Eight Approaches to Teaching Composition. Eds. Timothy R. Donovan and Ben W. McClelland. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1980. 101-131.

Provides a definition of and rationale for the conference method of teaching composition. Discusses the roles a teacher can/should take in a writing course taught using the conference method. Then as examples, gives transcripts of two conferences, one "successful" (one which led to an improved draft), the other "unsuccessful" (which didn't improve the paper).

Clark, Irene L., and Dave Healy. "Are Writing Centers Ethical?"Writing Program Administration 20 (1996): 32-48.

As writing centers have become independent of specific departments, concerns about tutoring ethics have increased. These concerns generally focus on problems arising from assessing the degree to which students are responsible for their own work. Practices that try to alleviate these concerns, though, also fall on ethically shaky ground because these practices may be counterproductive to student learning. An appropriate writing center ethics would include three traits: a proactive approach to the student's work in which attention would be given to the process of writing the assignment rather than to the product, a committment to collaborative learning while still maintaining more focused upon the writing than to the sense of consensus, and to take advantage of its function to provide individualized writing instruction in an atmosphere that respects the degree of ownership inherent in any piece of writing.

Claywell, Gina "Non-Verbal Communication and Writing Lab Tutorials" The Writing Lab Newsletter 18.7 (1994): 13-14.

Research indicates that non-verbal behavior has a major impact upon communication situations, so in order to hold more effective tutorials, tutorial programs should try to implement ideas from fields such as psychology, speech communication, etc. Teachers reveal expectations for their students through "leakage," a complicated system of body language, and this leakage can affect the interaction between tutor and tutee. Although many people can control facial expressions, other channels of non-verbal communication (eye movements, distance, even dress) are often ignored. Furthermore, body language is also culturally determined, so even if tutors are careful of their movements, the students will interpret the body language according to their cultural backgrounds. Videotaping tutorial sessions would help tutors become more aware of their own system of gestures, and more attuned to the ramifications of these gestures for the tutorial situation. (Includes 11 references)

Cogie, Jane, Kim Strain and Sharon Lorinskas."Avoiding the Proofreading Trap: The Value of the Error Correction Process." The Writing Center Journal 19.2 (1999): 7-32.

While the tutor's role as cultural informant can help the ESL student gain understanding of English, sometimes that role seems to translate into one of proofreader--especially when whole-essay issues are absent. Editing, however, both contributes to passivity in a tutorial and fails to help the student take charge of her own writing. By using such tools as learners dictionaries, minimal marking, and error logs, the tutor can help the student become a better self-editor. These tools may take up more time initially, but will ultimately enable the student to become a better writer in English. Several examples of types of error logs are included.

Coogan, David. Electronic Writing Centers: Computing in the Field of Composition.Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing Company. 1999.

Coogan theorizes the electronic writing center as a dialogic space where students and tutors learn to value those off-stage voices and contradictory impulses that inform their writing. This approach is opposed to that in which the writing center is a fix-it shop and the computer is a type of teaching machine. The text has five chapters: "Tutors and Computers in Composition Studies," "Email `Tutoring' and Dialogic Literacy," "The Medium is Not the Message," "The Idea of an Electronic Writing Center," and "Computing in the Field of Composition." An appendix, "African-American Poetry as Catalyst for Exploring Discrimination," includes a 4-week teaching guide on poetry and discrimination for junior and senior high school students.

Fletcher, David C. "On the Issue of Authority." Dynamics of the Writing Conference: Social and Cognitive Interactions. Eds. Thomas Flynn and Mary King. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1993. 41-50.

Analyzes the opening conversation of a single tutorial, discussing how the tutor in the dialogue fails to allow the student her own authority. Tutor asks low-level fact-based questions that leave him in control and prevent the student from having her questions answered or needs met.

Freedman, Aviva. "A Theoretical Context for the Writing Lab."Tutoring Writing: A Sourcebook for Writing Labs. Ed. Muriel Harris. Glenview, IL:Scott, Foresman, 1982. 2-12.

Describes a model of the composing process that specifies the stages of: starting point, exploration, incubation, illumination, composing, reformulation, and editing. Argues that writing center tutors can successfully intervene at 4 stages: starting point, exploration, reformulation, and editing.

Glass, Michael, and others. "Novice vs. Expert Tutors: A comparison of Style." Tenth Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference, Bloomington, IN (1999).

The C IRSIM-Tutor project is an intelligent tutoring system designed to tutor medical students on the baroreceptor reflex. The machine is designed to imitate some aspects of human tutorial language. Researchers analyzed expert and novice tutorials for types of turns taken. Research shows that expert tutors spend more time eliciting information than directly imparting it. This suggests that expert tutors engage students more deeply in the learning process.

Gruber, Sibylle, "Coming to Terms with Contradictions: Online Materials, Plagiarism, and the Writing Center."

What should the writing center do when a student says that s/he plans to plagiarize material because s/he believes s/he can do it without being caught? Gruber documents such a case, in which the writing center decided to waive its policy of confidentiality in order to inform an instructor of possible plagiarism of an online source. One interesting aspect is that the student tries to argue the difficulty of documenting an online source. The ethical conflicts within this situation are further complicated by the ramifications of the ethical violations within the context of the content of the course.

Harris, Muriel. "Individualized Diagnosis: Searching for Causes, Not Symptoms, of Writing Deficiencies." With a comment by Vincent Puma, and a response by Muriel Harris. College English 40.3 (1978). Reprinted in Tutoring Writing: A Sourcebook for Writing Labs. Ed. Muriel Harris. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982, with Puma comment and Harris response.

Original Harris article discusses a questionnaire used in her writing lab to determine how motivated the student is to write, how importants/he sees writing as being, etc. Puma commentary argues that tutors need more information than this: more about the underlying cause or nature of the grammatical/mechanical errors a student makes. In her response, Harris agrees with Puma and discusses some of the questions she asks tutees to pinpoint the information the student lacks, or the misinformation the student holds.

Harris, Muriel. "The Writing Center and Tutoring in WAC Programs." Writing Across the Curriculum: A Guide to Developing Programs. Eds. McLeod, Susan H. and Margot Soven. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1992. 154-174.

Argues that WAC instruction becomes more effective if it utilizes the resources of the Writing Center. The Writing Center can help facilitate WAC projects by coordinating projects involving various interests in the university constituency. Harris gives examples of how different Writing Centers help contribute to WAC goals, and offers suggestions on how to set up an effective Writing Center for WAC tutoring.

Hawkins, Thom. "Intimacy and Audience: The Relationship Between Revisionand the Social Dimension of Tutoring." College English 42.1 ( Sept. 1980): 64-68.

Author uses evidence from journals written by peer tutors to point out some advantages of peer tutoring (it gives students a stronger sense of audience, and the impetus to revise, etc.) Argues that it is the interpersonal interaction, the social aspect of tutoring, that provides these advantages. Notes that tutors find this aspect important, and that a more personal relationship between tutor and tutee promotes trust and thus more and better conversation about the tutee's writing.

Henning, Teresa B. "Theoretical Models of Tutor Talk: How Practical Are They?" Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on Composition and Communication (52nd, Denver, CO. March 14-17, 2001) ERIC document. ED 451 569.

While most writing centers work on a collaborative model in which tutor and tutee attempt to create shared knowledge and text, empirical research shows that this type of tutorial may be perceived as unsuccessful by both tutor and tutee. Instead of training tutors to use only a collaborative approach involving an expressionist model of listening, tutors should learn the characteristics of a successful tutorial and should be trained in both directive and non-directive techniques. This flexibility will allow tutors to use the appropriate tools for the situation, thus eliminating frustration with the tutorial setting.

Hubbuch, Susan. "A Tutor Needs to Know the Subject Matter to Help a Student with a Paper: __Agree __Disagree ___Not Sure." Writing Center Journal 82 (1988): 23-30.

Discipline-specific tutors present advantages to a Writing Center in that these tutors can help guide students both to ask appropriate questions within a specific field and to formulate their discussions within the conventions of the discourse of that field. At the same time, however, an "ignorant" tutor is probably a better tutor for the student because the tutor's lack of expertise will make sure that the student is engaged with both the content and the presentation of the paper. Perhaps more than the knowledgable tutor, the ignorant tutor will help the student recognize whether or not the argument of the paper is coherent and complete.

Kail, Harvey, and Kay Allen. "Conducting Research in the Writing Lab." Tutoring Writing. A Sourcebook for Writing Labs. Ed. Muriel Harris. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982. 233-245.

Reviews research techniques that can be used in writing centers: case studies and surveys. Also summarizes basic ideas of experimental research: decide what you want to do research on, review the literature, form a hypothesis, get subjects, formgroups or work out manipulations, collect and analyze data.

Karuri, Wangeci JoAnne. "Must We Always Grin and Bear It?"Writing Center Perspectives. Ed. Stay, Byron L., Christina Murphy, Eric H. Hobson. Emmitsburg, MD: NWCA Press, 1995. 71-83.

Tutors are often challenged by student papers with offensive content or ideology. Responses to these papers can be categorized as falling into confrontation strategies (direct, indirect, or subtle) or avoidance strategies. A third approach, one in which the tutor attempts to understand the background and purposes of the writer, yields more fruitful results. This insight will lead to effective conferences.

Law, Joe. "Tutoring Graduate Students in the Writing Center: Three Models of Instruction." Unpublished conference paper. No date.

Tutoring graduate students becomes more effective if the tutorial is seen within the context of a directed study. The tutor slips between the roles of mentor and editor, recognizing that in the context of graduate work, the placement of commas can affect the ideas expressed on the page. Suggests that institutions should create a course for dissertating graduate students that would involve writing center tutorials.

Matsuhashi, Ann, Alice Gillam, Rance Conley, and Beverly Moss. "A Theoretical Framework for Studying Peer Tutoring as Response" Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research Ed. Chris Anson, Urbana, IL:NCTE,1989. 293-316.

"Response" usually describes the instructor's comments upon student work, and studies of response generally focus upon its effects. If, however, response is more broadly defined as feedback processes, then it is possible to see different stages in that process. Peer tutors are unique respondents in that they are neither beginners nor experts. Matsuhashi et. al. believe that studying peer tutor response will enable researchers to increase their understanding of response, and present a framework upon which research might be based. Questions dealing with the nature of peer tutoring, the development of peer tutors, and the training of these tutors are framed as a matrix in order for the different relationships to be clarified. The matrix, then, acts as a heuristic for generating focii for research into response, especially response as it occurs in a peer tutoring situation.

Mohr, Ellen. "The Writing Center: An Opportunity in Democracy." Teaching English in the Two Year College (1999): 419-426.

More than merely pass knowledge on, writing centers provide a haven for the disenfranchised. The Johnson County Community College puts democracy into practice by refusing to classify tutors and tutees, as well as by requiring both full-time and adjunct instructors to work as tutors. Tutors are able to help tutees not only write more effectively, but also learn how to use writing to be more self-aware. The writing center also serves diverse populations, including non-native/non-standard dialect speakers and learning disabled students. The writing center, however, needs institutional support with respect to staffing and in understanding the writing center's mission as not merely developmental, but more of a component of a wac program.

Newkirk, Thomas. "The First Five Minutes: Setting the Agenda in a WritingConference" Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research. Ed. Chris M.Anson, Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1989. 317-331.

The writing conference situation requires that instructor and student set a mutual agenda within the first few minutes of the conference, or the conference will feel pointless. The initial exchanges in three conferences are presented by way of showing the degree of effectiveness in establishing a mutual agenda. The implications from the comparison involve the observation that the first few minutes are crucial in setting the direction and tone of the conference, that effective agendas are limited to one or two major concerns, that teachers need to be careful not to fix on a problem early on in the conference (especially true if the teacher has marked the paper up before the conference begins), and that the teacher should help maintain focus without being overly directive.

North, Stephen M. "Designing a Case Study Method for Tutorials: A Prelude to Research." Rhetoric Review 4.1 (Sept. 1985): 88-99.

Describes and critiques 3 ways of doing research on writing tutorials: a formalist approach, in which the goal is to make a model of a tutorial; a clinical approach, which uses case studies; and a participant-observer approach, which examines and attempts to describe tutorials by observing them. The author finds problems with all three approaches.

North, Stephen M. "The Idea of a Writing Center." College English 46.5 (Sept.1984): 433-446.

Argues that many faculty perceive Writing Centers as places to send their worst students -- those most in need of remediation -- and as closets run by marginalized "paraprofessionals." What IS a writing center? North defines it as a student-centered place where writing is viewed as a process, not a backup or supplement to someone else's curriculum. It is a place where writers talk to writers.

North, Stephen M. "Writing Center Research: Testing Our Assumptions."Writing Centers: Theory and Administration. Ed. G.A. Olson. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1984. 24-35.

Briefly summarizes the types of research currently common in writing center research. Then suggests two avenues of research that would test our basic assumptions about tutorials and the writing process: examining "good" vs. "poor" tutors, and examining the role of tutorials in the composing process).

Pemberton, Michael. "Crisis Tutorials." The Writing Lab Newsletter 23.6 (1999):14-15.

Crisis tutorials may place tutors in a dilemma as they try to negotiate between the confidentiality of the tutorial after a student has confessed to being involved in criminal activities. Suggests that writing centers may wish to formulate a policy to help guide tutors' decisions. Provides four scenarios for discussion.

Powers, Judith K. "Rethinking Writing Center Conferencing Strategies for the ESL Writer." Writing Center Journal 13.2 (Spring 1993): 39-47.

Describes difficulties encountered in tutorials with nonnative speakers at the University of Wyoming's writing center. With nonnative speakers,tutors were more directive, didactic and intrusive than with native speakers. This was seen as a problem because of the center's Socratic, nondirective philosophy. Powers proposes the following solution: accept that nonnative speakers need more and different things from tutors; that their questions do not stem from laziness, but rather from a lack of knowledge; that nonnative speakers may have learned different rhetorical strategies in their native languages; and that they may not be able to benefit from the methods of teaching editing used with native speakers.

Reed, Cheryl. "`Industrial Strength Tutoring': Strategies for Handling `Customer Complaints.'"Writing Center Perspectives. Ed. Stay, Byron L. Christina Murphy, and Eric H. Hobson. Emmitsburg, MD: NWCA Press, 1995. 94-103.

Student-centered pedagogy assumes the tutor to be an institutional link for students alienated by confusing and contradictory demands they must negotiate at the university. As liaisons, tutors find themselves occupying both student and instructor positions--a type of middle-management position. As a result, tutors often have to deal with student complaints about the institution, and therefore must negotiate a delicate situation. The author gives helpful scenarios to show different types of successful negotiations.

Reigstad, Thomas J., and Donald J. MacAndrew. "Theory and Research" and "Practice." Training Tutors for Writing Conferences. Urbana, IL: ERIC, 1984.

Chapter 1 describes a tutoring model that includes 4 principles: the tutor must establish and maintain rapport; the writer must do the work; higher-order concerns should be dealt with before lower-order ones;and tutors do not have to be experts. Discusses research underlying this model. Chapter 2 describes a tutor training course which includes teaching about the tutoring process, and about the writing process.

Rieber, Lloyd."Paraprofessional Assessment of Students' Writing." College Teaching 41.1 (Winter 1993): 15-18.

Describes a way to get around the problem of evaluating student papers in large classes, specifically a large business writing class: hire paraprofessionals to evaluate the writing. Authors hired people with extensive editing experience to edit students' papers for grammar/mechanics, and for technique or strategy used (thesis statement with examples, compare/contrast). Editors also conduct one-on-one tutorials with students.

Segedy, Julie. "Lessons through Letters: Using Tutor-Student Correspondence to Foster Learning." The Writing Lab Newsletter 23.9 (1999): 12-15.

Describes Lit Pal, a letter writing project targeting the ESL student population in which ESL students were matched up with a peer tutor. ESL students and peer tutors exchanged a series of 6 letters focused on specific literary issues associated with the required reading for specific literature courses. Both students and instructors reported that they felt the program was a success. Some pointers about how to set up a similar program and how to focus the letters are included.

Sherwood, Steve. "The Dark Side of the Helping Personality: Student Dependency and the Potential for Tutor Burnout." Writing Center Perspectives. Ed. Stay, Byron L., Christina Murphy, and Eric H. Hobson. Emmitsburg, MD: National Writing Centers Association Press, 1995. 63-70.

Writing tutors can be characterized as altruists, but "neurotically unselfish" tutors can foster student dependency in that the student starts to rely upon the tutor. If the tutor accepts this dependency, the tutor may start to feel pressured to do well by the student, which in turn leads to burnout. A more healthy approach to tutoring involves "detached concern," which balances empathetic regard for a student with objectivity toward writing problems.

Simmons, Jo An McGuire. "The One-to-One Method of Teaching Composition." College Composition and Communication 35 (May 1984): 222-229.

Describes a method of teaching freshman composition that uses lots of 1-to-1 conferences, all structured and sequenced. The sequence of conferences is arranged around the following questions: does the student have enough information? does the paper have a central idea/thesis? is the draft organized clearly? does the student use sentences that are correct and interesting? does the student use words well and correctly?

Smith, Raymond. "Protocols Employed by Tutors--From Disciplines Other than English--for 'Writing Intensive' Courses." No citation.

Argues for the use of tutors with backgrounds in the discipline a student is writing for. Illustrates with transcripts of 2 tutorials: one of a tutorial with a tutor in her discipline, the other of a tutorial with a tutor outside her discipline.

Tassoni, Paul. "The Libaratory Composition Teacher's Obligation to Writing Centers at Two-Year Colleges." Teaching English in the Two-Year College, February, 1998: 34-43.

Writing centers at two-year colleges may still spend more time on surface-level concerns, despite research that shows that tutorials dealing with higher level concerns generate better results. One problem is that centers at two-year colleges lack a stable pool of peer tutors trained in working with higher level concerns. Composition instructors can help by introducing their own students to peer-tutoring techniques. Such critical practices will enable students to engage in a more dialogic relationship with texts. These students will be better prepared to make writing centers in two-year colleges more democratic in the sense that tutors will be less authority figures correcting grammar and more partners in the process of developing critical awareness.

Thompson, Jan C. "Beyond Fixing Today's Paper: Promoting Metacognition and Writing Development in the Tutorial through Self-Questioning." The Writing Lab Newsletter 23.6 (1999): 1-6.

Although open-ended questions are generally preferred by composition specialists, these types of questions are particularly important within the context of tutoring students with learning disabilities. These students tend not to strategize without outside, explicit direction, but open-ended questions help these students develop metacognitive skills through active learning. Socratic discussions, outlines, and the five Ws are discussed, along with rhetorical modes. Self-cuing is another important part of this type of tutorial, especially LD students.

Thompson-Panos, Karyn, and Maria Thomas-Ruzic. "The Least You Should Know About Arabic: Implications for the ESL Writing Instructor." TESOL Quarterly 17.4 (Dec. 1983): 609-623.

Discusses features of Arabic language that could lead to difficulties in writing English: formal vs. colloquial Arabic; Arabic writing goes right to left and has different phonemes; Arabic dictionary is organized differently; differences in syntax (verbs, relative clause formation); stylistic differences (repetition, exaggeration); use of coordination rather than subordination.

Thonus, Terese. "How to Communicate Politely and Be a Tutor, Too: NS-NNS Interaction and Writing Center Practice." Unpublished paper. nd.

In college and university writing centers, native English-speaking (NS) tutors working with nonnative speakers of English (NNSs) face a series of dilemmas in their practice. First, what is effective tutoring may not be comprehensible. Second, what is comprehensible may be neither polite nor good tutorial practice. Whereas tradeoffs between communicative success and linguistic and pragmatic form also occur in interactions with NS tutees, the hazards of such negotiations are considerably more marked in tutorials with NNS writers. Results suggest that communication breakdowns of these types seriously threaten the tutorial

Thonus, Terese. "Tutors as Teachers: Assisting ESL/EFL Students in the Writing Center." The Writing Center Journal 13.2 (1993): 13-26.

Discusses differences in rhetorical strategies and writing processes that might be used by non-native speaking students (specifically Japanese and Arabic students) who visit a writing center.

Trimbur, John. "Collaborative Learning and Teaching Writing." Perspectives on Research and Scholarship in Composition. Eds. Ben W. McClelland and Timothy R. DonovanNew York: Modern Language Association, 1985. 87-109.

This article provides a history of and theories of collaborative learning, peer review, and peer tutoring in teaching writing.

Ulichny, Polly, and Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo. "Interactions and Authority: The Dominant Interpretive Framework in Writing Conferences." Discourse Processes 12 (1989): 309-328.

Analyzes transcripts of 20 writing conferences between 6th-grade teachers and students. Uses the analytic construct "Dominant Interpretive Framework" to refer to the power differential between teacher and student, and the teacher's control of the conference conversation. Describes 3-part structure of conference: beginning (read text aloud); middle (find and fix "correctables" in text) and end (teacher assigns task for student to do before next conference). Analyzes successful and unsuccessful find-and-fix cycles, in which student either does or doesn't correct the error the teacher has identified.

Waldo, Mark L. "The Last Best Place for Writing Across the Curriculum: The Writing Center." WPA: Writing Program Administration 16.3 (Spring 1993): 15-26.

Argues (in the discussion with Catherine Blair and Louise Smith ) that a WAC program should be "housed" in a writing center. Reasons: WCs provide a defined place for experts in WAC. The WC promotes dialogue between disciplines. And it's a rhetorically neutral place where the dialogue can take place, not a disciplinary space with its own rhetoric.

Walker, Kristin. "The Debate over Generalist and Specialist Tutors: Genre Theory's Contributions." TheWriting Center Journal 18.2 (1998): 27-46.

Genre theory can help resolve some aspects of the debate on whether tutors ought to be familiar with discipline-specific discourse conventions. Genre theory's focus upon the social processes involved in communication allows writing centers to train tutors to act as guides for students seeking to initiate themselves into the discourse of specific disciplines. Tutors can learn aspects of the discourse conventions and culture of other disciplines, and can study models of different genres in order to see how the conventions become realized. Argues that tutor training should involve interviews with specialists in various disciplines in order to learn what that particular discipline values.

Welch, Nancy. "Playing with Reality: Writing Centers after the Mirror Stage." College Composition and Communication 51.1 (1999): 51-69.

Examines writing centers and writing center practices from the perspectives of ego psychology, Lacanian analysis, and object-relations theory. Object-relations theory allows us to see the contradictions between the ideal and the practical business of the writing center, as well as the divisions between the internal and external perceptions of writing center mission to become "potential spaces" for questioning, activity, and change.

Wilson, Nancy. "Writing Center Counselor Training and the ESL Student." The Writing Lab Newsletter 23.3 (November 1998): 1-3.

Offers an outline of one writing center's steps in conducting ESL tutorials.

Young, Beth Rapp and Emily Dziuban. "Understanding Dependency and Passivity: Reactive Behavior Patterns in Writing Centers." The Writing Center Journal 21 (2000): 67-87).

Argues that adapting tutoring style to students' Long Reactive Behavior Types may be one way to deal with writers overly dependent upon writing center personnel. This instrument is easy to use, and divides writers up into four types, with additional behavioral modifications (impulsive, obsessive-compulsive, etc.). Tutorial strategies are offered for each major personality type. By recognizing that students bring different attitudes and approaches to their work, writing centers can become also more aware of when behavior is truly a misuse of writing center time.

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