The Tutoring Process: Exploring Paradigms and Practices (Reading 2)

In this week’s reading, we read about the tutoring process and the tutor’s role in writing instruction from The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors. There are four main ideas that guide this process. The first is that tutoring is contextual. This means it is important for a tutor to understand the context in which tutoring takes place in order to adequately help the student at hand. The second is that tutoring is collaborative. As we explored in the previous blog (Reading 1), collaboration is an essential part of tutoring. It emphasizes the relationship aspect of a tutoring session where two people work together towards a common goal. The third idea is that tutoring is largely impersonal and tutors need to meet the specific needs of individual writers by using effective interpersonal skills. Finally, the fourth concept that guides the tutoring process is that tutoring is individualized. In other words, no one method or approach will effectively work with every student in every situation. Instead, as a tutor, one must tailor each session to fit the unique needs of each student. This may be the most important rule to consider when tutoring, and I implement it every time I work.

Another interesting point the reading brings up is that, tutoring has been both influenced by paradigms that have shaped writing instruction in the past, AND has also been influential in shaping those paradigms. It both influences and has been influenced by paradigms. Three paradigms have especially played a key role as models of how writing should be taught: current traditional rhetoric, expressionism, and social constructionism. Current traditional rhetoric focuses only on the writer’s text and grammatical errors. Expressionism focuses on helping students develop an “authentic voice” in their writing. Social constructionism focuses on sociocultural and historical settings where writers develop their language.

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