Towards an Evidence-Based Practice
5. Tutoring Activities
c h a p t e r f i v e Tutoring Activities Talk is everything. If the writing center is ever to prove its worth in other than quantitative terms—number of students seen, for example, or hours of tutorials provided—it will have to do so by describing its talk: What characterizes it, what effects it has, how it can be enhanced. . . . The vari- ations on the kind of talk are endless. We can question, praise, cajole, crit- icize, acknowledge, badger, plead—even cry. We can read: silently, aloud, together, separately. We can play with options. We can both write. . . . We can ask writers to compose aloud while we listen, or we can compose aloud, and the writer can watch and listen. (North, 1984a, pp. 75–76) In this chapter, we categorize tutoring activities according to the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Finally, we review studies on re- vision talk, meta-discourse, and reﬂection, since these activities ﬁgure prominently in the tutoring sessions that researchers have investigated. Speaking Two main types of talk appear in tutoring sessions: the actual discourse of tutoring itself (instructional talk) and other talk (small talk), which serves a more interper- sonal or phatic purpose. B&T Final_B&T fin 6/19/12 3:21 PM Page 111 112 | RESEARCHING THE WRITING CENTER Instructional Talk Citing Thonus (1998), Ritter (2002) divided the tutoring session into the diag- nosis phase (discussed in the next chapter under agenda-setting), the directive phase, in which...
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