Training of Writing Tutors: Lacks and Needs

2017-11-08
Writing centers have been a part of the higher education landscape since the 1930s (Murphy & Law, 1995). They are for all writers since even the best writers need preliminary readers, and careful responses and questions which such readers provide. Basically, tutors are those readers. Writing center literature suggests that tutors need to be equipped with particular features to achieve the goals of writing centers. With the aim of training effective tutors and to better cater for the needs of writers, many writing centers have initiated tutor-training programs. In Turkey, there are numerous English medium universities, where writing centers have been established to help students improve their writing skills. The graduate Academic Writing Center (AWC) of concern in this study has been in service for almost 15 years. Every semester novice English language instructors from the School of Foreign Languages start working at the Center mostly without knowing what is exactly done in the Center, and thus they need training. The training of new tutors is conducted through a set of training documents prepared to introduce the philosophy of the Center, the “minimalist tutoring” concept, and the stages of a tutorial. However, there is not much reference to what needs to be done during actual instruction time in a tutorial, and tutors frequently voice the need to receive more guidance to better deal with the problems they face during the tutorial session and to enhance their current tutoring practices. Therefore, this study aims to fill the gap in the tutor training practice of the AWC by exploring the needs of the tutors, the difficulties experienced while tutoring, the lacks of the current training session, and tutors’ views regarding an ideal tutor training program. To reveal tutors’ views and the underlying reasons, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with the tutors who have recently started working at the AWC and received training. The audio-recorded interview responses were subject to qualitative analysis. Writing centers are scarce in Turkey, and there are no studies on tutor training practices. This study is believed to contribute to the literature by filling this gap.

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Citation Formats
D. Saydam, “Training of Writing Tutors: Lacks and Needs,” presented at the International Conference ICT for Language Learning, 8 - 10 Kasım 2017, Floransa, İtalya, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/81332.