"How Can I Help You?": Understanding How Peer Tutoring in Writing Centers Develops College Students
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This work explores how peer tutoring in writing centers develops college students’ writing skills and eases writing anxieties. This thesis aims to provide an understanding of the goal of writing centers and how peer tutors, or peer consultants, are trained to make the service accessible to all writers. To achieve these goals, a literature review was conducted on the contemporary writing center philosophy, the strengths of the peer tutoring model, the way writing anxieties develop, and writing center tutoring practices. Contemporary writing centers place an emphasis on collaborative learning and teaching students that writing is a process. The peer tutoring model is most useful in achieving the goals of writing centers because of the consultants’ transfer of learning and sense of low authority when working with students. Stemming from previous educational experience, writing anxieties, or writing apprehension, inhibit some writers’ abilities to reach their full potential as academic learners. Research suggests that the interpersonal dynamic is a key concept behind effective peer tutoring in the writing center. Additionally, peer tutors utilize techniques rooted in politeness theory, motivation theory, and rapport building to craft safe learning environments. To ground the research on writing center practices, scenarios based on personal observations follow each section to apply the concepts into sessions.