August 28 Recording: Part I. St. Martin's Sourcebook

This recording ( ) includes a nice discussion about the difficulty in finding a specific formula to use for tutoring. We talked about the many diversity issues tutors need to address for each particular student. What other questions/comments do you have regarding this topic?


Kyle said...

After doing a little more in-depth research on the concept of constructivism as a learning theory, I would have to say I agree with the notion that it is the student/learner who needs to construct his/her own method of learning--their acquired knowledge and world view will have a profound impact on how they learn and it is the instructors/tutors job to help facilitate learning through a dialogue. This begs the question: Where does the tutor "draw the line" and refrain from simply teaching AT a student?

Kandice said...

Thank you for posting your question. I'm sure your colleagues and the class will have their own comments, but my first response would be - the line should be drawn when the tutor is doing more work than the student. Does that make sense? Also - most tutors would refrain from using the word "teaching" because the role of the tutor is more of a "coach;" however, some teachers would prefer to call themselves "writing coaches" (except for during the evaluation process) due to their role to coach their students through the writing process towards a finished product.

Lindsey Perrine said...

Diversity Issue:

One concern that I had related to cultural differences and diversity challenges. I talked to Charlene about it, because I wasn't really sure how to handle it; that issue is the Black English Vernacular (BEV). On the one hand, I want to be helpful, but I don't want to be offensive or insult anyone's culture. With BEV, I feel it's less of a grammar/writing issue and more of an identity issue.

Can anyone offer me any advice in this arena?

Sarah said...

In response to Lindsey:

I don't believe it is entirely appropriate for either party to step out of their vernacular in order to attempt to speak another. Urban students use slang in everyday, casual talk, and sometimes have trouble differentiating between casual and formal in their writing. So, yes, a problem exists, but tutors should not attempt to speak to the student as if they came from the same background (especially if they didn't).
Rather, the tutor should use common language in order to communicate meaning. Do not try to use the slang, but also don't use heightened or complicated English that the student might not follow.
Start easy and work toward a common understanding. Encourage diversity, while at the same time find commonality. It's a balancing act, but it can be done.

Anonymous said...


I like what you said in response to Kyle's question about where the tutor needs to draw the line. I would disagree with some of the teachers who would consider themselves "writing coaches" because a coach is someone who encourages the "player" as well as teaches them how to perform better on their own. Don't get my wrong there are some teachers who DO do this. I would consider a tutor to be more of the writing coach because they should be encouraging and helping the students to succeed on their own.

Anne Casey said...

Lindsey, I agree that this is an issue for those of us who may not be familiar or comfortable with this form of vernacular. I think the best thing might be to tell students-all students- to avoid slang or current vernacular of any type in an academic paper, since it is not professional. If it is a free-form kind of paper, where personal expression is permitted, don't be afraid to say to your tutee "I don't understand what you are trying to say here - can you explain it to me?" I'd welcome anyone else's input on this as well!