Former OSU Writing Center Graduate Administrators Katherine DeLuca and Cynthia Lin publish research they conducted while working at OSU's Writing Center

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Original article published at: https://wlnjournal.org/digitaleditedcollection1/LinDeluca.html

Developing a Multilingual and Interdisciplinary Writing Center: Reviewing Goals and Activities from the Graduate Writing Consultant Workshop

 

Katherine DeLuca
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Hsing-Yin Cynthia Lin
The Ohio State University at Marion

 

This chapter reviews the goals and activities of the Writing Consultant Workshop (WCW) for graduate students, a tutor educational program we developed and facilitated while graduate administrators at the Ohio State University Writing Center. Building upon our article, "Educating and Recruiting Multilingual and Other Graduate Students for Writing Center Work," published in WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship in 2017, this chapter offers further detail on the educational program we created. We also discuss the background and review the pedagogical goals and practices—like activities and readings—that formed the workshop. 
 

The WCW was initially launched in Autumn 2013, and its development was prompted by a few key exigencies: first, an increase in the number of non-native English Speaking (NNES) writers who visited the writing center; second, an expressed interest by graduate student tutors for additional education that better matched the undergraduate offerings (a semester-long tutor education course); and third, a desire to expand the profiles of our staff by recruiting NNES and native English speaking (NES) graduate students from across the university to create a more robust interdisciplinary and multilingual campus unit. 
 

In developing this educational program, our goals were to address the needs of writers who visit the center as well as the needs of tutors, especially those for whom working with NNES writers is unfamiliar. With shifting student populations, scholars in writing center studies and related fields have made recommendations for working with NNES writers. For instance, Tony Silva suggests the necessity of addressing differences between textual features of native and non-native English writing, which can range from differences in writing processes, to language usage, and idea development ("Toward an Understanding" 657). Such scholarship advocates for longitudinal support for NNES students' writing. This scholarly guidance provided the framework for our educational efforts. We situated the workshop we developed within both the fields of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Writing Center Studies by particularly selecting scholarship intertwined within both disciplines. Additionally, this new approach to tutor education at our center represented an opportunity to join calls from writing center scholars for developing tutor education programs to meet the needs of local student populations. For example, both Craig Medvecky's "Enter the Dragon: Graduate Tutor Education in Hall of Mirrors" (in this collection), and Chuck Radke's "A Space for Grad Students: Peer-to-Peer Collaboration in a Writing Studio Startup" advocate for more extensive and comprehensive education for graduate tutors that is responsive to local contexts and institutional affordances and constraints. Talinn Phillips incorporates graduate student tutors' and writers' feedback and ideas into her tutor education program and responds to their concerns and needs. Kristina Aikens addresses and challenges normative notions about how to tutor academic writing in an American university setting. 
 

In this piece we share the syllabus and materials from the workshop as well as an overview of participants' evaluations and experiences. We hope that sharing the rationale for our program, programmatic goals, its development, activities, and assessments may help writing center colleagues who are interested in revising or developing similar educational programs. 
 

Situating the WCW: Purposes and Logistics

 

We established the WCW as a multi-week workshop with a specialized focus on NNES writing issues for graduate students interested in learning how to better support this growing population as potential tutors in our writing center. Our writing center and Text box: A number of [NNES] writers became regular clients, using our services because our center is the only campus unit providing support for their writing and, in some ways, support for navigating the new academic culture they now encountered.university faced demographic changes that are being experienced across the nation as many universities encounter rising NNES student enrollments. According to the Institute of International Education's Open Doors Report, specifically during the 2015-2017 academic years, the number of new international students in American institutions has continued to increase from 4.8% to 5.3% of the total student population of U.S. Higher Education enrollment. Locally, the 2016-2017 Ohio State University Enrollment Report reveals that international students constitute 10% of the university student body. According to our internal service reports, more than 50% of writers visiting the center identified that English was not their first language, as compared to 20% of writers prior to 2015. A number of these writers became regular clients, using our services because our center is the only campus unit providing support for their writing and, in some ways, support for navigating the new academic culture they now encountered. 
 

Within this context of changing student populations, we identified three goals for the WCW.

  • To create a center that better served NNES students
  • To expand the diversity of the center's staff and to increase the recruitment number of graduate tutors
  • To launch an improved educational program for Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) to work with NNES students.

 

Taking into account these goals and how the results of the workshop could impact the center overall, we considered both logistical constraints and affordances. 
 

Positioned as a liaison among students, faculty, and other academic support units, our writing center was aware of the need to help NNES writers as they navigated new academic and cultural expectations of an Anglo-American university. Further, we became increasingly cognizant of the exigence to respond to the localized issues and challenges facing our university, integrating and addressing many stakeholders' concerns. As Craig Medvecky argues, to "design and implement the most effective graduate tutor education programs," writing centers must "know how their services are to integrate into other support structures the campus offers." Our efforts required extensive coordination with a number of invested parties, including the Provost's office and the English as a Second Language Program, which is housed in the College of Education, in order to support international students' academic success. Grants were received from both parties and were used not only for our center's daily operations and hiring but also to fund the workshop. 
 

One particular affordance of our local context was that we were part of a large research university, and thus, we could recruit from a large graduate student pool within a rich variety of disciplines across the university. To move the center toward a multidisciplinary and multilingual campus unit staffed by tutors educated and equipped to work with diverse university community members, we wanted to expand our staff profile—recruiting graduate student NNES and NES writers from across the university. As Kristina Aikensadvocates, it is important to be "deliberate in recruitment and hiring strategies if you want to cultivate an inclusive writing center community." Although a mandatory twenty-hour pre-semester all-staff training program at our center already existed before we created the WCW, we hoped to hire the graduate students who went through the WCW to work at our center, so that those new graduate writing consultants would have extensive preparation even before attending the mandatory training. 
 

Our intention was to design the WCW as a professional development opportunity for graduate students holding GTA appointments since they often taught their own classes in their departments and were listed as the instructor of record. This focus grew out of conversations with campus partners (e.g., the university libraries, the Office of International Affairs, advising offices, and others), through which we understood that many GTAs on campus received little training to work with NNES students in their classrooms. We saw the WCW as a useful professional development opportunity that might encourage GTAs to consider implementing writing center pedagogy to engage with the demographic changes in their classrooms. 
 

We tried to make the workshop as accessible to as many potential GTAs as possible, and in consideration of graduate students' busy schedules, we advertised that workshop participants would be awarded a small stipend instead of course credit. Text box: We tried to make the workshop as accessible to as many potential GTAs as possible, and in consideration of graduate students' busy schedules, we advertised that workshop participants would be awarded a small stipend instead of course credit.At the end of the workshop, we invited GTAs to apply for a position at the center, though employment was not guaranteed through participating in the workshop. As we particularly recruited GTAs to the workshop, students who were hired as tutors following the workshop were given an additional 25% appointment, working ten hours a week as a writing tutor on top of their 50% appointment working twenty hours a week in their home departments as GTAs. Even though not all applicants from the workshop applied for a position at the center or were hired, many reported that the workshop was a useful educational and professional development opportunity and that they gained insight into revising their classroom practice in working with NNES writers. 
 

The WCW's Pedagogical Goals and Practices

 

The WCW was run similarly to a graduate seminar to fully engage consultants with the complexity and significance of scholarship and pedagogical theories. The syllabus for the workshop reflected our goals: the integration of theories and on-site apprenticeships. The basic structure of the six-week WCW required a ten-hour weekly commitment from participants. These ten hours included a two-hour weekly face-to-face meeting and eight apprenticeship hours per week distributed across activities such as reading and learning about relevant scholarship, participating as writers in tutoring sessions in the writing center, observing tutoring in the writing center, completing journal and reflection paper assignments, and participating in an online discussion forum. 
 

Face-to-Face Meetings with Workshop Participants

During our two-hour face-to-face meetings, we reviewed readings, practiced mock tutorials, and discussed writing center experiences that involved working with tutors and observing numerous tutorials. In the early meetings, participants learned basic theories and practices of composition, writing centers, and writing across the curriculum. We chose readings (see syllabus) carefully so that novice writing center tutors could have a full understanding of the foundations and evolution of the field. Meetings held toward the end of the six-week workshop were structured more for participants to share with us how they thought writing center theories were reflected in our practices and for participants to ask questions about tutoring. 
 

Each week's meeting was assigned a theme with selected readings. For example, the first week introduced participants to the theme "Intellectual Construction of the Writing Center" and included readings of foundational scholarship by David BartholomaeKenneth BruffeeStephen NorthMuriel Harris, and Andrea Lunsford. We also specifically chose many readings related to supporting NNES students. Such readings included: Christian Brendel's "Tutoring Between Language with Comparative Multilingual Tutoring," Sarah Nakamaru's "Lexical Issues in Writing Center Tutorials," and Carol Severino and Elizabeth Deifell's "Empowering L2 Tutoring." Workshop participants reported that research on vocabulary tutoring strategies for NNES writers was often the most relevant to many of their observations. For instance, discussions of issues with word choice and grammar as well as questions about how consultants approached sessions with NNES writers were frequently brought up in weekly meetings, connecting the scholarship with practice. Through readings and observations, workshop participants were able to understand how NNES writers' lexical knowledge affected their ability to express meanings correctly, rather than their simply making grammatical mistakes at the sentence level. Participants also shared observations corresponding to other readings, such as Jane Cogie's "ESL Student Participation in Writing Center Sessions" and Ilona Leki's "L2 Composing: Strategies and Perceptions," which address interactions between tutors and NNES students. 
 

To make connections across much of the scholarship, we discussed Wayne Robertson's documentary, Writing Across Borders(See Figure 1). This video explains why students from different cultural backgrounds show distinct rhetorical features, and it helped participants recognize that non-English rhetorical characteristics are not due to "educational deficiencies" (Silva, "Ethical Treatment" 362). Watching and discussing the documentary helped participants connect the different concepts and lessons developed in readings. As most WCW participants were native English speakers and unfamiliar with TESOL research, the film enhanced their perception of multilingual writers' experiences and prompted discussions about how to provide relevant feedback for NNES writers. NNES participants could speak to the film's resonances with their own experiences, such as receiving excessive error markings on papers. Sharing their perspectives with fellow participants reaffirmed with firsthand accounts the film's lessons about NNES writers' experiences.

 

Figure 1. Wayne Robertson's documentary, Writing Across Borders

The weekly face-to-face meetings enabled participants to discuss issues and topics arising from the scholarship and also provided an opportunity to make connections between the readings and their experiences in the center. The selected scholarship introduced not only the basics of writing center philosophies but also contemporary research and practices. Although we knew the load of readings was heavy (as some participants commented in the workshop evaluation), they were important components of this tutor education program. Especially for those coming to writing center studies who considered the writing center a fix-it shop, the readings provided theoretical reasoning behind writing center work, helped change participants' perceptions of the center, and challenged normative ideas about good academic writing and tutors' roles in shaping that writing. 
 

Additionally, during some of our face-to-face meetings we invited current graduate tutors to come in and talk as part of a panel about their general experiences as writing center tutors as well as their particular experiences working with NNES writers. In response to participants' curiosity regarding the daily operations of our writing center, we also discussed our administrative work and our own tutoring experiences. The two-hour weekly meetings were an important component of the WCW because we were able to check on participants' engagement, open up the floor for questions, and encourage real-time communication. The structure of these meetings was very similar to the types of professional development practices Katrina Bell found in her research of graduate institutions that provided writing center education, which ultimately helps prepare students for future careers. (See "Our 'Professional Descendants': Preparing Graduate Writing Consultants" in this collection for more details.) 
 

Visiting the Writing Center as Writers

This educational program not only emphasized writing center scholarship, writing across the curriculum, and TESOL, but also benefitted participants by giving them onsite experiences. Following a common practice in tutor education, especially among undergraduate students, participants paired their reading and learning with apprenticeship activities. As we tried to foster an empathetic and peer-oriented perspective and disrupt teacherly personae in writing center tutorials, we first asked participants to Text box: Although the center endeavors to promote the philosophy of peer-tutoring, some graduate consultants who were GTAs with classroom experiences in their home departments sometimes struggled to adopt the role of a peer and had trouble differentiating between being a teacher and a peer in tutorials.use the writing center services as writers in order to encourage them to understand the process of a session and how writers feel when receiving feedback on their writing. In fact, many of our current graduate tutors had never used writing center services before working at the center. In large part, this lack of experience as visiting writers was due to their identities as NES. Although we endeavored to recruit from as wide a pool as possible, many of the workshop participants were English graduate students and/or NES writers, so they were presumed to be or identified as skillful writers, and deemed writing center sessions unnecessary. Secondly, although the center endeavors to promote the philosophy of peer-tutoring, some graduate consultants who were GTAs with classroom experiences in their home departments sometimes struggled to adopt the role of a peer and had trouble differentiating between being a teacher and a peer in tutorials. 
 

We wanted to aid workshop participants in developing perspectives as tutors, not teachers. Therefore, we employed a multifaceted assignment that asked workshop participants to visit the writing center at three different stages of their writing process: a brainstorming session, a higher-order concerns (HOCs) session, and a lower-order concerns (LOCs) session. To facilitate these sessions, workshop participants developed a five to seven page short paper discussing selected topics related to writing center studies. This experience was new to many NES participants because, as mentioned previously, they had never used writing center services, and those sessions forced them to adjust their writing process, slowing their writing in a way many hadn't experienced since early in their academic careers. While going through this assignment, participants reflected on 

  • what questions consultants asked at each stage 
  • how consultants approached their writing at each stage
  • how participants experienced the sessions as writers. 

 

As the final component of this assignment, workshop participants wrote a cover letter that accompanied their short paper in which they reflected on the experience of participating in sessions as writers, explaining what they found valuable. One NES participant studying education said that the short paper was an extremely useful experience, albeit different from her usual process. In going through three different sessions for the paper, she learned not only how to improve lower level issues, like mechanics, in her writing but also about the tutoring process itself. An NNES participant reflected that the scaffolded process for a short paper forced her to revise her previous writing approaches, enabling her to clarify the articulation of her ideas as well as develop an outline of the paper. Additionally, this NNES participant felt that the experience of such scaffolded tutorials could especially benefit NNES writers as they identify questions they have at each stage of their writing process. Among the three sessions, most of the participants found the brainstorming session the most helpful; one participant reported that she had never done formal brainstorming and that this experience challenged her to approach her writing process in new ways.  
 

Although many identified value in these tutoring experiences, a couple of participants indicated few benefits from their sessions. For example, one stated that being tutored was totally foreign to her, so in tutorials she did not know what questions to ask or how to prepare for the sessions. Her reactions were what we were anticipating; we wanted those experienced GTAs or skillful writers to understand how a writer, and especially a NNES writer, might feel when they did not know what to do in a session, which may feel foreign to them. Writing center sessions feature an academic discourse distinct from a normal classroom, and not everyone has been in the vulnerable position of seeking help from a university employee, like a writing tutor. In contrast, this short-paper experience was not new to one NNES writer and workshop participant, as she had been using writing center services since starting her graduate studies at our university. As a result, she appreciated the assignment and was willing to apply her experience as a writer to work as a writing consultant.  
 

Because of this assignment, workshop participants were required to engage in many aspects of a writer's experience at the writing center. These experiences included the potential frustration associated with developing a piece of writing in response to prompts in a new area of study, the opportunity to take a scaffolded approach to the writing process, and the chance to reflect on their experiences as writers seeking for help. We saw these opportunities as useful means for developing an empathetic perspective that we hoped the workshop would foster overall. 
 

Shadowing and Co-Tutoring at the Writing Center

To continue fostering empathetic perspectives that value student writers' experiences, we had participants keep observing sessions after they had experienced using the writing center services in order to practice the skills and lessons described in readings and then discussing relevant issues throughout the workshop. With the emphasis of the WCW on working with a NNES, we asked participants to use these observation opportunities to pay additional attention to, to listen to, and to connect with this clientele. 
 

Given the number of NNES writers at our center, participants were often able to first observe sessions and later, at the discretion of the tutor with whom they worked, co-tutor in sessions with NNES writers. Participants not only asked writers for permission to co-tutor but also collaborated with experienced tutors to decide each other's role in facilitating a session. For example, experienced tutors often still led the session but asked for participants' input while the session was progressing. When the working relationship between the tutor and the observer was developed (usually after a few observations), the roles would often switch so that the tutor observed the participant working with the writer. When concluding their sessions, workshop participants were asked to debrief with tutors and writers, gaining insights on experiences and preferences from both sides of the session, especially learning from and listening to NNES tutors and writers. 
 

In these observations, and eventually in co-tutoring sessions, participants had a range of experiences with various writers—from undergraduate writers working on papers for first-year writing courses to NNES graduate student writers. For NNES workshop participants, we saw these shadowing and co-tutoring sessions as unique opportunities to foster moments of multilingual Text box: We also emphasized that NNES students are vulnerable because of the multi-layered obstacles they are coping with in a new academic discourse. Thus, we encouraged our NNES participants to feel free to use other languages when connecting with consultants and clients in the writing center and to approach the tutorials as multilingual.and multicultural exchange. We also emphasized that NNES students are vulnerable because of the multi-layered obstacles they are coping with in a new academic discourse. Thus, we encouraged our NNES participants to feel free to use other languages when connecting with consultants and clients in the writing center and to approach the tutorials as multilingual. Effective sessions may occur primarily in a language other than English while discussing English writing, and other sessions may switch back and forth between English and other languages to enable precision when addressing lexical issues. Building a stronger rapport via languages eases the extent of challenges that NNES writers encountered at the university.  
 

Writing and Reflecting on Experiences in Journals and Online Discussions

In addition to reporting their experiences during meetings, participants reflected in their weekly journal about

  • what happened in tutorials
  • how writing consultants worked with clients
  • how the practice was related to readings 
  • what questions they had. 

 

These journal entries were later transformed into a discussion board or blogging assignment where all workshop participants were able to read and respond to each other's experiences. These reflections enabled participants to hone in on various issues they encountered in their observations and co-tutoring opportunities. Participants connected actual examples of the complex issues to our prior readings and discussions. For instance, although tutors were advised to offer writers choices in how to engage with writing brought to a session (that is, tutors may read aloud; the writer may read aloud; or the tutor may read silently) some experienced tutors would still ask NNES writers to read aloud. When encountering this in sessions, participants reported that they observed some NNES writers' reticence at reading aloud and argued there would be little benefit to the practice, making connections to readings in the class and what they saw happening in the center. One NNES participant observed a session in which a consultant unintentionally created tensions, and sometimes ostensible divisions, between that NES consultant and the NNES writer. In her reflection on this observed session, the workshop participant reported that a NNES writer expressed her concerns about grammar, and the NES consultant pointed out some sentences and marked them as nonstandard for American academic writing, using language that situated the writer as other. The NNES workshop participant noted in her reflection that the comment made her uncomfortable, especially as the tutor used "we" to denote an in-group that the writer was excluded from. Although an ostensibly benign moment, the observer's account of this cultural and sociolinguistic division prompted us to discuss with workshop participants our shared responsibility for actively creating the writing center as a welcome space that values multilingual and multicultural perspectives and experiences. 
 

Text box: The question of how to foster an inclusive space for all members of the community is recursive, demanding ongoing reflection, education, and discussion.As this observer's experience and reflections highlighted, the question of how to foster an inclusive space for all members of the community is recursive, demanding ongoing reflection, education, and discussion. The implied power imbalance described by the observer corresponds with numerous studies of writing center sessions between NNES writers and NES tutors. Terese Thonusnotes, from her cumulative corpus recordings of sessions, "Tutor talk shows many signs of interactional dominance" (229). In Thonus' studies, NES tutors used more upgraders with NNES writers. Upgraders, according to Thonus, strengthen the force of directives in tutor talk with with NNES by using "modals such as you have to and imperatives" (230). Thonus notes that tutors often soften their directive speech in order to maintain politeness, but she suggests using directive talk to help NNES more clearly understand tutors' suggestions. Upgraders, though less polite, can help NNES better understand tutor suggestions, but as workshop participants noted, this type of tutor talk may create discomfort, unintended divisions, and power imbalances. In light of this scholarship, and the observer's experiences, we advocate for actively seeking opportunities to address these issues of power imbalance in sessions through tutor education. 
 

Identifying issues arising in sessions, such as observation moments that highlighted power imbalances between a tutor and writer or concerns about how sessions were conducted, created opportunities for workshop participants to discuss, in their online posts as well as in face-to-face meetings, how such issues can be resolved in the writing center during sessions. Making these issues transparent in the workshop through online discussions of observations enabled participants to reflect on their experiences and draw connections to the various issues at play and their impacts on writing center work. Both in online conversations and in person, participants detailed conversations and sessions that illuminated prevalent issues and concerns faced in sessions. 
 

Discussion Board Leaders

In later workshops, we implemented discussion board leaders because we wanted participants to engage more with readings, ask questions, and initiate conversations with other participants. Each week, three participants developed questions from the assigned weekly readings not only to initiate conversations before the weekly meeting but also to stimulate conversations that could continue during the week. For instance, in one workshop, discussion questions were posted to the course discussion board on the Friday before the Monday meeting, and participants had the option of responding to the questions on the discussion board prior to or following the in-person meeting (see syllabus). Each leader composed and posted two or three questions. These discussion questions varied in subject and made connections between the readings, ongoing conversations, and observations. We felt that this change enabled participants to take charge of their engagement with the readings and highlight what they felt was significant and worthy of attention, especially as they balanced the readings with their own experiences. This change also helped us know more about what captured participants' attention as well as their understanding of writing center scholarship.  
 

Final Projects

Along with evaluating participants' experiences in this educational program, we also wanted to learn from participants' suggestions for improvements or research topics. Thus, our final project prompt asked them to write an analytical reflection paper (see syllabus). Although some participants completed a purely reflective project, others developed a more forward-looking project, creating texts more akin to action plans or proposals. By requiring synthesis of information from observations, tutee experiences, co-tutoring opportunities, and readings, the final paper challenged participants to examine the center's current practices, review their own experiences, propose an action plan, or consider research opportunities. We also met with each participant and discussed their interests for the project. Every person presented their project and findings at the final workshop meeting. 
 

Final projects ranged in topic from debating generalist versus specialist approaches in tutoring writing to researching the impact of body language of both tutor and writer in tutoring sessions. These projects represented not only an opportunity for workshop participants to demonstrate their learning over the course of their experience in the workshop but also a chance for writing center administrators to learn from participants' insights and ideas. For example, based on one participant's findings, in tutor educational sessions and staff meetings we discussed how closer physical distance seemingly reduces the perception of a writing tutor as an authority figure but may possibly intimidate some NNES clients. Overall, as we endeavored to engage and work with graduate students from various disciplines, we felt this to be a particularly valuable opportunity to invite feedback from many members of the university community and to rethink our approaches based on the feedback received. 
 

Conclusions and Takeaways

 

Text box: The WCW, in short, enriched our tutoring pool with new specializations, skill sets, and world experiences.The WCW created opportunities to take a more expansive approach to our writing center's hiring and educational practices. By instituting these new educational practices, we were better able to recruit potential graduate student tutors from various disciplines, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds. Although the WCW is no longer in place at the university because of leadership changes and the appointment of a new director in 2016, the WCW did create a new culture in our center, one that values multilingual writing as beneficial for all tutors and clients in our writing center. The WCW, in short, enriched our tutoring pool with new specializations, skill sets, and world experiences. 
 

At the end of the workshop, we distributed a survey similar to the standardized Student Evaluation of Instruction used at the university. The survey collected participants' suggestions for future WCWs or other tutor education programs. The collected feedback reflected that graduate students felt they benefited from participating in the WCW even if they ultimately did not apply to work at the writing center after the workshop. The WCW was an unusual professional development opportunity for them because it was offered outside of their fields. This interdisciplinary education workshop changed their perceptions of writing center services, and they stated that it also helped with their teaching. For example, some participants implemented more drafts of writing assignments and peer-review in their classrooms, and they understood the focus on HOCs prior to LOCs when commenting on students' papers. 
 

We have identified some key benefits from the changes made to our writing center's practices. Our writing center developed strategies to educate and hire NNES writers and tutors, enriching our tutoring pool. One of the most fruitful conversations from the Text box: One of the most fruitful conversations from the WCW, which also brought other topics to the forefront, was prompting NES participants to ponder this issue of implied power imbalances.WCW, which also brought other topics to the forefront, was prompting NES participants to ponder this issue of implied power imbalances. Discussing sensitive or contentious topics such as power imbalances and writer identity was not easy, but we knew it was part of the writing center administrators' responsibilities to acknowledge these issues when educating graduate students who are interested in working at the center. 
 

In our research we learned that we were not alone in helping tutors learn how to negotiate power in sessions. Sara Cushing Weigle and Gayle L. Nelson also note how difficult it can be for novice NES tutors and NNES writers to navigate control during tutoring: "it is frequently difficult to resist the natural tendency of tutors to maintain control over the tutoring agenda despite the traditional wisdom that tutors should construct themselves as supportive peers of [writers] rather than experts" (220). Addressing negotiations of power described by Weigle and Nelson continued to prompt discussion in our writing center even after we had left the university. These concerns led Talinn Phillips, Candace Stewart, Rachael Ryerson, The Ohio University's Student Writing Center, and the Graduate Writing and Research Center to develop a series of training films that would guide tutors in how to build an allyship with NNES writers. This series of seven videos, "Becoming an Ally: Tutoring Multilingual Writers," a Discussion Guide, and a Viewing Guide, address the importance of building rapport, or an allyship, by learning more about NNES writers’ backgrounds. This training series notes that it is inappropriate to "[force] them to meet U.S. cultural expectations" but rather we can remind them how U.S. readers may respond to the text (Discussion Guide 14). These educational materials could aid others who may be facilitating such tutor education programs in the future, as they offer insights and approaches we believe could be particularly valuable to tutors. Although this film series was not available when we were running the WCW, we share the perspective that writing centers can and should be welcoming, multilingual, and multicultural. 
 

We found great success in bringing NNES writers into the center as tutors and writers. We believe having multilingual writers in the writing center can benefit everyone, although NNES writers may particularly benefit from having other multilingual writers working as tutors. One particular advantage Ben Rafoth notes about hiring experienced NNES writers as tutors is that these multilingual tutors can challenge a so-called native speaker fallacy, a retrieved term from Robert Phillipson (193). This belief suggests that an ideal English language teacher is a native speaker; however, we advocate for hiring multilingual tutors who, perhaps, are more able to relate their own language learning experiences to NNES writers. Developing such a writing center culture creates learning opportunities for writers, who can address lexical issues more precisely by engaging in multilingual sessions, and also for graduate and undergraduate consultants—both NES writers and NNES writers—who have the opportunity to learn from each other about writing and language from multicultural perspectives. 

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BIO

 

Katherine DeLuca is an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She teaches in the Writing, Rhetoric & Communication and Master's in Professional Writing Programs. Her research focuses on the intersections of digital media studies, writing studies, and rhetoric as well as writing center studies and pedagogy.

 

Hsing-Yin Cynthia Lin is the Program Manager of the Academic Success Center and Writing Center at The Ohio State University, Marion. She teaches in the Department of English. Her research focuses on the intersections of writing studies, second language writing, and applied linguistics as well as writing center studies and pedagogy.


 

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