Importing the Writing Center to a Japanese College: A Critical Investigation
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The purpose of this study is to enrich understandings of the major issues encountered when tutoring writing with beginner-intermediate level Japanese EFL students in a Japanese university. Specifically, the thesis examines how students and tutors perceive the challenges experienced in EFL tutoring and the various roles tutors adopt during EFL writing tutoring sessions with Japanese beginner-intermediate students. A mixed method approach is employed utilizing different methods that combine qualitative and quantitative data. Four data collection methods were utilized: pre and post-semester interviews with writing tutors: student questionnaires from a sample size of 24: 30 tutorial observations: and two tutor training workshops (quasi-focus group). Symbolic interactionism (SI) provided a framework for analyzing tutors‟ roles and their practices during EFL writing tutorials. This view assumes that roles emerge from, and are significantly shaped by, interactions in specific social settings. It was found that writing tutors adopt the following roles: proofreader, translator, coach, teacher, mediator, and timekeeper based on their interaction with the individual student. Each role was adopted as a reaction to a challenge but also created new problems. Many of the roles the tutors adopted in this study parallel the research on roles tutors adopt in the ESL writing center, however in EFL tutoring these roles are magnified. For example, in this study tutors play both the role of teacher and mediator to a much larger degree. The translator role however is unique to EFL tutoring. The roles put forth encompass a different way for tutors to think about effective tutoring in an EFL setting with beginner-intermediate students. This study contributes a deeper understanding as to how administrators and writing tutors can better conduct writing center tutorials with EFL students.
EdD in TESOL