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Appears in:
Pages: 5660-5668
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain

HOW WELL DOES TUTOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE TRANSFER TO PEER TUTOR TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF A WRITING CENTER?

C. Brandt

Petroleum Institute (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
A university Writing Centre is an ideal venue for the provision of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL). A significant body of research indicates that PAL in such a context offers several benefits to both peer tutors and those tutored. For those tutored, benefits include psychological (e.g. confidence building); social (e.g. integration into the wider community); cultural (e.g. greater appreciation of academic discourse community expectations); cognitive (e.g. better understanding of content); metacognitive (e.g. developing awareness of own learning processes) and linguistic (e.g. understanding task, genre, structure, voice and register). Peer tutors, on the other hand, may gain several of these benefits plus they may develop key teaching skills, such as knowing how and when to elicit or be directive. Peer tutors also gain valuable work experience which can lead to enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem.

Peer tutors are normally drawn from the student population and, in the research context (an engineering university in the Arabian Gulf) must meet several criteria in order to train and work as a Writing Centre peer tutor. One criterion is that all must have completed two required Communication courses, graduating from the second level course with grade ‘A’. The syllabuses of both courses reflect ‘process writing’ approaches which encourage student (re)drafting, editing and proofreading in a context that is student-centered and collaborative, and in which scaffolding is emphasized over direction, and teacher correction of student writing is de-emphasized. Peer tutors are also required to undergo significant training which aims to equip them with an understanding of the rationale behind these approaches to writing skills development as well as the skills needed to adapt them to suit the tutoring context. Given therefore that these peer tutors have experienced such approaches and have participated in congruent training, the researchers set out to determine the extent to which they are able to articulate such understandings and apply them in their tutoring.

Research methods reflected a relativist ontology in which realities are understood to be multiple and constructed, an interpretative epistemology in which the researcher and the researched interact and influence one another, and a naturalistic methodology. A range of interconnected interpretative methods were deployed, including observation of PAL conferences, conference-conversation analysis and semi-structured interviews with tutors. The large quantities of text generated were analyzed, coded and synthesized with a grounded theory “constant comparison” approach facilitating the identification of emerging emic themes via inductive reasoning. Results indicate that while tutors have significant recent experience of non-directive writing classes and are able to articulate well the rationale and benefits of this approach, their experience and espoused theory is in contrast to their theory-in-use, which relies on instruction predominated by telling, explaining, demonstrating and directing, not always to optimum effect. The relationship therefore between tutors’ experience, training, articulation and practice is explored, and a number of recommendations are made that can enhance Writing Center practices, in line with Biggs’ (1999, p. 64) concept of a constructively-aligned system of instruction, in which system components address the same agenda and support each other.
@InProceedings{BRANDT2014HOW,
author = {Brandt, C.},
title = {HOW WELL DOES TUTOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE TRANSFER TO PEER TUTOR TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF A WRITING CENTER?},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {5660-5668}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Brandt
TI - HOW WELL DOES TUTOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE TRANSFER TO PEER TUTOR TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF A WRITING CENTER?
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 5660
EP - 5668
ER -
C. Brandt (2014) HOW WELL DOES TUTOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE TRANSFER TO PEER TUTOR TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF A WRITING CENTER?, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 5660-5668.
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