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  • Chapter Two - Methods and Methodology: Locating Places, People, and Analytical Frames

    If talk, conversation, and teaching are at the center of a writing center’s praxis and pedagogy, then it only makes sense that we should continue using every technique in our methodological tool kit to study and understand them.

    – Michael Pemberton

    For a classroom-based tutoring program to succeed in providing a multivoiced forum for discussion of student writing, the assessment of that program itself needs to be multivoiced.

    – Jane Cogie, Dawn Janke, Teresa Joy Kramer,
    and Chad Simpson

    My current work in CBT follows Burke’s methodological imperative in an attempt to “use all that there is to use” (Philosophy 23) in case study research of CBT. The research methods employed are designed to be multi-method (Liggett, Jordan, and Price; Corbett “Using”) and RAD or replicable, aggregate, and data-supported (Haswell; Driscoll and Perdue). Thompson et al. arguably hint at a difference between the typical writing center tutorial and the types of teaching and learning that can occur in CBT when they claim, “It is likely that students come to writing centers to improve the grades on their essays and that they expect to feel comfortable during conferences, However, they do not come to writing centers to form peer relationships with tutors” (96). As we’ve touched upon in this book, one of the more potentially positive occurrences afforded by the closer classroom/center interaction is the tighter interpersonal relationships that can form among the participants, including student writers and tutors. Yet this closer connection is precisely why our methods and methodology must be more nuanced. As the rhetorical situations for participants become more seemingly over-determined, our tools of analyses must become even more fine-grained and triangulated to pinpoint and make transparent any possibly determinable variables.

    An important action this multi-method triangulation allows is the ability to identify rhetorical and linguistic patterns between one-to-one tutorials and peer response group facilitation. As mentioned in relation to peer response groups in the Introduction, Thompson et al. posit that, in order to get a closer understanding of the way dialogic collaboration is reciprocally realized across tutorial practices, it would be edifying to compare the discourse features of one-to-one tutoring with peer response sessions. This is an especially important consideration for CBT and the complicating play of differences that occur as peer tutors attempt to facilitate peer response groups in the classroom. In the following sections (and again in Chapter Four), I begin my attempt to address what Thompson et al. call for in terms of the comparative analyses of the discourse of one-to-one tutorials and peer response facilitation we started reviewing in the previous chapters.

    Data Collection Instruments

    In order to get multiple points of view from the case study participants Table 2-1 explains the data collection instruments employed as well as why these particular tools were used.

    In the following sections, I describe the settings the participants were recruited from and operated in, and introduce the participants for each respective team. I also spend some time explaining in greater depth my methods and methodologies for analyzing tutorial transcripts and peer response groups for the sessions detailed in Chapters Three and Four. In this extended methodological frame, I outline some of the strengths and weaknesses of other studies of tutorial transcripts and explain steps I’ve taken to account for these strengths and weaknesses in my own methods and methodologies.

    Table 2-1. Data collection instruments

    Instruments

    Purpose and Function

    End-of-term interviews with all writing instructors (graduate TAs) and tutors

    Intended to ascertain the background experiences of tutors and TAs, to get an overall sense of their perceptions of how their interactions went, to get an idea of what they perceived as their roles, and to see what suggestions or recommendations they might have for better practice. Designed also to get a sense from TAs and tutors how they felt the other participants in their groups, including students, reacted and how this interaction compared to their previous experiences with tutors or tutoring (see Appendix A for interview questions).

    Hand-written field notes of in-class peer response sessions

    Collect and identify data for both micro-level linguistic analyses and analyses of broader rhetorical frameworks in small-group peer response sessions, and to allow for comparative analyses to one-to-one tutorials (see Categories and Codes for Analyzing Tutorial Transcripts and Small-Group Peer Response Sessions, and Figure 4, below).

    End-of-term student questionnaires (see Appendix B)

    Designed to get an overall idea of how students felt about their in-class and one-to-one interactions with their tutors, and to gather students’ comparative impressions of this experience in relation to other tutoring experiences they’ve had.

    End-of-term student course evaluations

    Intended to gather a sense of what students thought about the course and instructor (and tutor) as a whole.

    Tutor notes and journals

    Intended to supplement and enrich interview and field note data, to ascertain more personalistic observations and reflections.

    Course materials, including assignments and syllabi

    Intended to provide context for analyses of one-to-one audio recordings, field observations, interviews, and tutor notes/journals

    Audio-recordings of 36 one-to-one tutoring sessions (from the UW teams)

    Intended to gather data to micro-analyze linguistic features and cues of one-to-one tutorials, in relation to broader rhetorical frameworks. Also intended to collect contextual and linguistic data that can be used to comparatively analyze small-group peer response sessions (see Categories and Codes for Analyzing Tutorial Transcripts and Small-Group Peer Response Sessions, and Figure 4, below).

    Settings

    In order to start building a clear-as-possible picture of the context surrounding the four UW and two SCSU teams involved at the time these case studies were conducted, I will explain the two UW writing center settings that the tutors hailed from and worked at, as well as the context of how the SCSU tutors were recruited.

    The first, the English Department Writing Center (EWC), I am quite familiar with, having worked there as an assistant director from 2000-2008. During the time these case studies were conducted, the EWC offered a tutor training course in writing center theory and practice unique at the UW campus, English 474. In this five-credit course tutors are introduced to the fundamentals of one-to-one instruction. They read from a course packet that includes over twenty-two influential essays and book excerpts; they write argumentative essays on related topics; and they interact in a collaborative classroom environment that revolves around class discussion of readings and peer response workshops of each other’s writing. Tutors are required to observe two one-to-one sessions from experienced fellow tutors before they begin tutoring themselves. Sessions are allotted up to fifty minutes. Once they arrive in the Center to begin practicing what they’ve been studying, tutors find themselves surrounded, easily within listening distance, of other new and experienced tutors conducting tutorials. Often tutors begin to talk informally about everything under the sun between sessions (see Decker, “Academic (Un)Seriousness”). While tutors read essays that describe both directive and nondirective approaches (for example Brooks; Clark, “Collaboration”) the “Mission Statement” for the Center, at the time of this study posted conspicuously on the wall at the Center for all to read, leaned much more toward the minimalist approach. Figure 3 details what tutors “will and will not” do, a chart excerpted directly from the end of the statement. From my experience, the EWC served primarily mainstream students, many from the UW’s mainstream FYC course English 131. All of the tutors I had worked with in CBT initiatives in the past had come from the EWC, including three of the tutors in this study: Megan, Sam, and Julian. Though I had experimented widely with having tutors attached directly to my composition classrooms on a regular basis, the majority of our CBT efforts involved sending tutors into classrooms for briefer peer review and response facilitations (Corbett, “Bringing,” “The Role”; Corbett and Guerra; Corbett and LaFrance; Decker “Diplomatic”; Cogie et al.).

    Tutors will collaborate in ...

    Tutors will not ...

    Brainstorming, outlining, and discovering pre-writing strategies

    Developing and clarifying thesis statements

    Developing organizational strategies

    Recognizing where elaboration or clearer transitions are needed

    Determining how and when to document outside sources

    Recognizing when more research is needed to support claims

    Generate ideas

    Suggest or reword thesis

    Suggest an organization

    Provide vocabulary

    Analyze reading materials

    Supply content

    Figure 3: English Department Writing Center Mission Statement excerpt

    The second UW setting, the Instructional Center (IC), a division of the Office of Minority Affairs, provides tutorial services for a variety of courses and subjects (including a writing center) designed for “at risk” students at the UW. I first came into contact with the IC writing center while teaching for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), a program that coordinates classes like the two-quarter stretch FYC course, English 104/105, jointly with the Expository Writing Program (EWP). During a visit to the IC in 2003 I spoke with representatives there about the CBT initiatives we had been working on at the EWC. This piqued their interest, and began a relationship that included IC tutors visiting my EOP classrooms to help with peer response. I approached IC administrators again for this study and they found a tutor, Madeleine, willing to participate. I also volunteered as a peer tutor for the IC writing center Spring quarter 2007. During this experience I saw the professional tutors that work for the IC working side-by-side with undergraduate, a couple of graduate, and a couple of volunteer tutors. Interestingly, at the time of this study, the IC did not provide new tutors formal training in writing center theory and practice. New tutors were offered the option of observing sessions with more experienced tutors, if they so desired. In contrast to the EWC, there is no real time limit to sessions, so one-to-ones can easily go over an hour; students can work on their writing and work with tutors intermittently. Like the EWC, the space at the IC is rather small; tutorial sessions are conducted well within hearing distance of each other. So instead of receiving structured and systematic training, new tutors learn on-the-job, through trial and error, and by listening, observing, and talking with experienced tutors. Finally, in contrast to the conspicuously-posted “Mission Statement” of the EWC, the IC has no such mission statement for their writing center. Rather than have methodological mandates, writing tutors for the IC learn very much by trial and error.

    The participants from the third setting at SCSU, in contrast to the UW tutors, did not originate from a writing center. When I took the job as co-coordinator of the Composition Program at SCSU, New Haven, in the fall of 2008, I was immediately confronted with more of the same sort of developmental learners I had worked with at the UW: students with lower SAT scores, first-generation and working-class students, more students with learning disabilities—in short, students who needed and could benefit from more focused individualized instructional support. Fresh from my CBT experiences and studies at the UW, I wanted to follow up on what I believed were some of the more successful components of those studies. I felt that something unique and full of potential took place, especially with Madeleine’s Team Three detailed below. So I asked Mya, one of our top instructors of our basic writing course English 110, if she would be interested in participating in this study, and if she had a tutor in her current course she might recommend as a course-based tutor for her subsequent course. She asked the student she had in mind, Gina, and Gina agreed. What followed were two back-to-back terms that illustrate what can happen when continuity between participants in CBT occurs. None of the SCSU teams received any special training to prepare them for their roles as course-based tutors. Rather, they all originated from Mya’s 110 courses, a course that emphasized writing process pedagogies like multiple drafts and peer review and response sessions.

    I have lingered on this discussion of settings in order to emphasize the importance of the preparatory environment (preexisting context) that underscores the one-to-one and classroom-based tutoring that occurred in the UW and SCSU case studies. I will touch on possible implications of the differences in these settings’ instructional practices and (where applicable) philosophies in later sections.

    Participants

    In this section I will introduce the six teams involved in the case studies, the first four from the UW, and the fifth and sixth from SCSU. Readers will begin to get to know the participants and the respective CBT models they worked together in. Later, in Chapters Three and Four where applicable, participants will detail their impressions of how their interactions with students and with each other played out in one-to-one tutorials and classroom peer response sessions and other in-class collaborations. The two models employed were the in-class model and the writing advisor model. Essentially, the in-class model had tutors embedded in the classroom on a day-to-day basis, while the writing advisor model involved tutors much less in the classroom. Details for each TA/tutor team, respectively, are provided below.

    Team One: Julian and Anne

    Julian, from Team One, is a white, senior English/Comparative Literature major who had worked in the EWC for two years, including a quarter as an in-class tutor with me. Julian commented minimally on papers and met one-to-one with students at the EWC. He also attended two in-class peer reviews. He has the most experience tutoring one-to-one and in the classroom of all the tutors. Having worked with Julian very closely for two years prior to this study, I found him outspoken and highly intelligent.

    Anne is a white, third year TA in English Language and Rhetoric. She had one year of teaching experience with first-years prior to this pairing. She had extensive training and experience, about five years, teaching one-to-one for the EWC and CLUE (CLUE, or the Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment, is another campus student-support service that houses an evening writing center.) She had also presented at several national and regional writing center and Composition and Rhetoric conferences.

    Table 2-2. Team One descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutor

    The Instructor

    Writing Advisor Tutor

    Tutor commented on papers and met one-to-one with students at the English Department Writing Center (EWC). He attended two in-class peer response sessions.

    Julian is a white, senior English/Comparative Literature major who had worked in the EWC for two years, including a prior quarter as an in-class tutor. He had the most experience tutoring one-to-one and in the classroom of all the tutors.

    Anne is a white, third year TA in Language and Rhetoric. She had taught two years of traditional FYC prior to this pairing. She had extensive training and experience in tutoring one-to-one for the EWC.

    Team Two: Megan and Laura

    Team Two includes Megan and Laura. Megan attended class every day and worked one-to-one with students at the EWC. Megan is a white, senior Communications/English major who had been tutoring at the EWC for two years. She was planning to pursue K-12 teaching. Like all the EWC tutors (except Sam) she took a five-credit course in writing center theory and practice. Megan considered herself not the strongest writer. During her interview she described how struggling with an English class, from which she eventually earned a 4.0, persuaded her to apply to the EWC. Having worked with her an entire summer, to me Megan always seemed very nice (often “bubbly”) and approachable.

    Laura is a second year TA and Chinese International student, focusing on postcolonial studies and Asian-American literature. She had one year of teaching experience with first-years prior to this pairing.

    Table 2-3: Team Two descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutor

    The Instructor

    In-Class Tutor

    Tutor attended class every day and worked one-to-one with students at the English Department Writing Center (EWC).

    Megan is a white, senior Communications/ English major with two years tutoring in the EWC. She planned to pursue K-12 teaching. Like all the EWC tutors (except Sam) she took a 5-credit course in writing center theory and practice.

    Laura is a second year, Chinese international grad student and TA in English Literature. She had one year of teaching experience in a traditional first-year composition (FYC) classroom prior to this pairing.

    Team Three: Madeleine and Sydney

    Due to her schedule, Madeleine, from Team Three, attended class every other day and worked one-to-one with students at the IC. Madeleine is an African-American sophomore English (creative writing) major who had worked for the IC only one quarter prior to this pairing. She enjoys performing spoken-word poetry. She did not receive any formal training in one-to-one teaching prior to this pairing. She attended a college prep high school and participated in running start. Prior to this study, I was not familiar with the personality or tutoring patterns of Madeleine.

    Sydney, a woman of color (African-American) herself, is a second year TA studying nineteenth- and twentieth-century African-American literature. She had about five years of teaching and tutoring experience with high school students and one year of teaching with first-years prior to this pairing. On her wish-list, Sydney had written me a note asking, if at all possible, for a tutor of color. Serendipity worked in her favor in the form of Madeleine, whom I would later learn was the only IC tutor willing to participate in this study.

    Table 2-4: Team Three descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutor

    The Instructor

    In-Class Tutor

    Tutor attended class every other day and worked one-to-one with students at her Center.

    Madeleine is an African-American, sophomore creative writing major who had tutored one quarter for her Center prior to this pairing. She did not receive any formal training in teaching one-to-one.

    Sydney is a second year, African-American TA in English Literature. She had several years of teaching experience with high school students and one year teaching traditional FYC prior to this pairing.

    Team Four: Sam and Sarah

    Team Four includes Samantha (Sam) and Sarah. Sam commented on student papers and met one-to-one with students at the EWC. She attended class only once to introduce herself. Sam is a white, senior double English/Biology major who had worked as a tutor for the EWC and for the Dance Program for a total of two years. Although she is the only EWC tutor who did not take the five-credit training course, she had read several articles on writing center theory and practice and co-authored an article on group tutoring and personal statements. When I originally interviewed Sam, she seemed very shy and reserved. I was actually slightly concerned that she might be too reserved for peer tutoring (more on this later).

    Sarah is a Latina, second year TA, focusing on nineteenth-century American literature. She had one year of teaching experience with first-years prior to this pairing. She also had two years’ experience tutoring ESL students.

    Table 2-5: Team Four descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutor

    The Instructor

    Writing Advisor Tutor

    Tutor commented on student papers and met one-to-one with students at her Center. She visited class only once to introduce herself.

    Samantha (Sam) is a white, senior English/Biology major who had worked in her Center for a total of two years. She had read several articles on writing center theory and practice prior to tutoring.

    Sarah is a second year, Latina TA in English Literature. She had one year of teaching experience in a traditional FYC classroom prior to this pairing, and two years of experience teaching ESL.

    Team Five: Gina and Mya

    Gina, from Team Five, is a white sophomore who plans on majoring in nursing. She attended class every day, did all of the course readings, and gave comments to some student papers outside of class. She said she felt her experiences as a student in English 110 with Mya, the term just prior to this one, prepared her well for her role as a course-based tutor because Mya worked with students just as much on general skills for succeeding in college as on their writing skills. She admitted that, while previous peer response experience helped prepare her for her tutoring role, she tried harder when helping students with peer response for this course than she did as a “student” in the previous course. As readers will hear more about in Chapter Four, Gina worked closely in the class with an autistic student, Max. Having a learning disability (LD) herself, dyslexia, she understood that Max might need a little more help and attention.

    The instructor, Mya, is a white, adjunct instructor with about ten years teaching college first-year composition, two years teaching high school, and fifteen years as a home educator prior to this case study. She said she already had a “bond” with Gina, since they were together in English 110. Mya then let me know about Gina’s LD. She was aware that Gina has trouble understanding and comprehending what she reads.

    Table 2-6: Team Five descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutor

    The Instructor

    In-Class Tutor

    Tutor attended class every day, did all of the course readings, and gave comments to some student papers outside of class.

    Gina is a white sophomore who plans on majoring in Nursing. She had taken English 110 with the instructor, Mya, the previous Fall term. She had no previous experience tutoring or teaching.

    Mya is a white, adjunct instructor with about ten years teaching college first-year composition, two years teaching high school, and fifteen years as a home educator prior to this case study.

    Team Six: Kim, Penny, and Jake

    Team Six enjoyed a unique partnership wherein one instructor, Jake, was assigned an in-class tutor, Kim and Penny, for each of his two sections. As mentioned above, like Gina, both tutors had been students in Mya’s 110 course the previous term. Kim is a Latina freshman who planned on majoring in nursing. She had no previous experience tutoring or teaching. Interestingly, Kim had been in the same peer response group as Max, the autistic student that Sara from Team Five above worked closely with. Penny is a white, freshman Education major. She also had no previous experience tutoring or teaching.

    Jake is a white, adjunct instructor with about five years teaching college first-year composition prior to this case study, including several developmental writing courses. Jake talked about how Kim and Penny had different personalities and approaches, Kim more outgoing and vociferous and Penny more reserved. He said that he actually encouraged this diversity, “letting students [tutors] find their own way.”

    Table 2-7: Team Six descriptions

    The Model

    The Tutors

    The Instructor

    In-Class Tutors

    Tutors attended class every day, and gave comments to several student papers outside of class.

    Kim is a Latina freshman who plans on majoring in Nursing. She had taken English 110 with the instructor, Mya, the previous Fall term. She had no previous experience tutoring or teaching.

    Penny is a white, freshman Education major. She had taken English 110 with the instructor, Mya, the previous Fall term. She had no previous experience tutoring or teaching.

    Jake is a white, adjunct instructor with about five years teaching college first-year composition prior to this case study, including several developmental writing courses.

    Categories and Codes for Analyzing Tutorial Transcripts and Small-Group Peer Response Sessions

    As described above, the one-to-one tutorials presented in Chapter Three were audio-recorded. The data for the small-group sessions reported in Chapter Four are from my field notes. Tutors, instructors, and students were solicited for their impressions of both. And all course materials, including assignments, were collected for this study. Drawing largely on Black, Harris, Gillespie and Lerner, and Gilewicz and Thonus, rhetorical and conversation discourse analyses are the primary methods for coding and analyzing one-to-one tutorial transcripts. The analyses will offer broader rhetorical frameworks as well as ways to analyze linguistic features and cues that can also be used to analyze small-group peer response sessions. Attention to how the linguistic features of tutorial transcripts hint at larger rhetorical issues complicates and enriches Grice’s “tacit assumption of cooperation,” outlined in his conversational maxims of quality, quantity, manner, and relevance (see Blum-Kulka 39-40), in relation to CBT. As Carolyn Walker and David Elias’s frequently cited analysis of teacher-student conference transcripts argued—and, in relation to tutor-tutee conferences, Thompson et al.’s study supports—the quantity or ratio of student to teacher talk did not affect either participants’ perceptions of the conference’s effectiveness. What this suggests is that even though writing center practitioners talk much about the value of getting students to do most of the talking, students themselves often tacitly assume that teachers or tutors will do most or much of the talking, and if they do not then the students’ expectations might be disrupted.

    Harris’s “Why Writers Need Writing Tutors” provides an overarching rhetorical framework for how tutors can help writers. Tutors can: (1) encourage student independence in collaborative talk; (2) assist students with metacognitive acquisition of strategic knowledge; (3) assist with knowledge of how to interpret, translate, and apply assignments and teacher comments; and (4) assist with affective concerns. In Teaching One-to-One Harris offers seminal analyses of tutorials from Roger Garrison and Donald Murray, as well as tutors (though these tutors are not categorized as peer or professional or graduate students). These transcript analyses offer a useful overview of directive and nondirective methods, ways tutors help students acquire writing strategies, techniques for active listening (including listening for student affective concerns), and how questions can be used in various ways with different effects.

    Gillespie and Lerner supply further analysis from tutorials, though most of the tutorial transcripts they analyze are between undergraduate writers and graduate tutors. They extend many of Harris’s findings, especially in regards to the complex way various questioning techniques and strategies affect the control and flexibility of any given tutorial. In asserting “questions aren’t necessarily a nondirective form of tutoring” (112) their analyses of tutorial transcripts reveal content-clarifying questions, three types of open-ended questions (follow-up, descriptive meta-analysis, and speculative), as well as directive questions that lead tutors away from the conversation advocated for by most writing center scholars to their appropriation of one-to-one tutorials. (Although, Thompson and Mackiewicz offer an important caveat. In their study of questions used by experienced tutors in 11 one-to-one conferences the authors found that “it is not possible to describe a ‘good’ question outside of the context in which it occurs, and even in context, the effects of questions are difficult to determine” [61].) One of the most important suggestions the authors make involves note-taking as an important aspect of tutorials. They advise tutors to read the entire paper before offering any suggestions, taking careful notes so that students can walk away with a transcript of what happened. Otherwise, the authors explain, much of what went on during the conversation will be lost, tutors may make unnecessary comments, and tutors may be too controlling or directive during the session (also see Harris, Teaching 108).

    But both Harris and Gillespie and Lerner, due to their goals of training often beginning tutors, fall short of pushing the analysis of transcripts to the micro-linguistic level. Black and Gilewicz and Thonus offer discourse analysis of conference and tutorial transcripts that can help link the macro-rhetorical issues to the micro-linguistic features and cues of one-to-ones. Like Harris, and Gillespie and Lerner, Black pays careful attention to the issue of directive and nondirective conferencing strategies (also drawing on Garrison and Murray). Black takes the idea of typical classroom discourse, characterized by initiation-response-evaluation, an arguably directive form of instruction (see Cazden 30-59), and shows how it makes its way, often unintentionally, into conference talk. Importantly, Black applies both conversation and critical discourse analysis to the examination of one-to-one conferences. Black also explores how interruptions, backchanneling, fillers, words like “you know,” can control and coerce students, “subtly forcing another speaker into a cognitive relationship that becomes a linguistic relationship that marks and cements the social relationship” (47). Like Black, Gilewicz and Thonus pay attention to pauses, backchannels, and fillers. And like Harris and Gillespie and Lerner, they are sensitive to the way questions can be used to encourage or discourage conversation. The authors take us a step further, however, in their breakdown of fillers into backchannels, minimal responses, and tag questions, their attention to pauses, and—especially relevant to this study—their subdividing of overlaps into interruptions, joint productions, and main channel overlaps. (Joint productions occur when one speaker finishes another speaker’s words or phrases. Main channel overlaps happen when speakers utter words or phrases simultaneously.) For example, the authors claim that “joint productions, more than interruptions or main channel overlaps, represent movement toward greater solidarity and collaboration” (36) rather than leave all control in the hands of the tutor.

    Yet, while offering important micro-level sociolinguistic analyses, both Black and Gilewicz and Thonus also fall short by not providing enough contextual information that could help readers make better sense, or provide more of their own interpretations, of the authors’ research findings, including why tutors or teachers may be more or less directive in a given tutorial or conference. My attempt to triangulate data, to account for Erving Goffman’s “wider world of structures and positions” (193) via interviews and follow-ups, transcriptions, and student questionnaires are efforts in trying to account for larger CBT contextual factors. These factors become especially important when attempting analyses of small-group tutorials.

    Several elements of the analytical frame for one-to-ones discussed above also apply to small-group peer response sessions (Figure 4). All four of Harris’s categories for how tutors can help writers can be highly useful as an overarching macro-frame. The use of various sorts of questions, overlaps, fillers, and frequency and length of pauses can help in the comparative micro-analyses of one-to-ones and small-group tutoring. Especially promising, as well as slightly problematic, is Teagan Decker’s idea of the “meta-tutor”—a concept that provides a conceptual and analytical bridge between one-to-one and small-group tutoring and peer response. She claims that tutors leading small-group response sessions should “become meta-tutors, encouraging students to tutor each other. In this capacity, tutors are not doing what they would be doing in a one-on-one conference in the writing center, but rather they are showing students how to do it. Their role, then, does change, but at the same time remains consistent” (“Diplomatic” 27). As Decker explains, this role is different from the ones tutors typically engage in at the center. In a one-to-one setting tutors need only share what they can about the writing process, while meta-tutoring requires a level of metacognition that enables a tutor to teach students how to do what they do—but without seeming as if the tutor is withholding important information. This coaching students how to coach each other really makes tutors have to agilely balance directive/nondirective strategies. We will see in Chapter Four how this notion of the meta-tutor played out with the teams. But, first, I will turn our focus toward the balancing acts involved in the one-to-one tutorials from the UW teams

    Figure 4: Macro- and micro-heuristic for coding, analyzing, and comparing one-to-one transcripts and in-class peer response field notes