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Communicating Advice

Peer Tutoring and Communication Practice

Edited By Wendy Atkins-Sayre and Eunkyong L. Yook

Although competent peer tutoring depends heavily on knowledge within the particular discipline, there is certainly more to the process than subject knowledge alone. One of the most important components of tutoring in any academic area is effective communication. Research in the area of communication studies is relevant to all areas of tutoring, but is often only a minor component of peer tutoring training. This book brings together tutoring center experts and communication experts to provide research-based advice for training peer and near-peer tutors. With a broad audience in mind, these experts translate research from the fields of communication and pedagogy into advice that can be used for tutoring in any field. Peer tutoring centers or pedagogy courses in any discipline will find this book to be an effective discussion tool for encouraging tutors to consider the importance of how they communicate their advice to students.
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Chapter 12. Communicating Ethos at the Center Kristen Hoerl, Mercedes Kolb, Ethan Gregerson, and William Butler

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COMMUNICATING ETHOS AT THE CENTER

Kristen Hoerl, Mercedes Kolb, Ethan Gregerson, and William Butler

Tutoring center staff must communicate their credibility to effectively assist students. Ethos is a term used within the discipline of rhetoric to describe the process of demonstrating one’s good character and credibility. Based on the works of Aristotle, ethos is one of three devices or modes of argumentative support. Ethos refers to the character of the speaker, whereas logos concerns effective reasoning and pathos relates to the use of emotional appeals. Although they are often considered separately, appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos may function collectively to persuade an audience. While a speaker’s prior reputation influences audience perceptions, the concept of ethos fundamentally concerns how speakers demonstrate their character through discourse. Like logos and pathos, ethos is constructed rhetorically through the process of interaction (Baumlin, 1994). Ethos is a matter of practical importance for tutors; in order to believe that a visit to a tutoring center is valuable, students need to believe that tutors are knowledgeable and trustworthy. In this chapter we describe different dimensions of ethos and explain how they might apply to peer tutoring centers, particularly for those that employ undergraduate tutors. ← 229 | 230 →

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