Research Question

What perceptions do tutors have of non-native speakers of English–and how might those perceptions affect teaching and learning in the Writing Center?


This inquiry projects highlights the importance of making sessions with ESL writers productive, the biggest challenges consultants face, and adjustments that can be made to practices. The concept of contrastive rhetoric is also explained.


The project establishes guidelines for ESL sessions and provides information about opportunities for consultants to become more comfortable with ESL writers.


Discussion about aspects of ESL sessions that make consultants uncomfortable, problems of practices, and the review/discussion about a writing sample on the TOEFL iBT website.


The project provides guidelines for ESL sessions, offers advice on approaches to writers from different cultures, provides information on useful resources, and offers suggestions on ways to get more practice with ESL writers. Some tutors attended conversation hour after viewing this presentation.


Blau, S & Hall, J. (2002). Guilt-Free Tutoring: Rethinking how we tutor non-native-English-speaking students.

Writing Center Journal 23(1), 23-44

Educational Testing Service. TOEFLibt. Retrieved January 26, 2013.

Lyons, G. (1992). Validating cultural difference in the writing center. Writing Center Journal, 12(2), 145-158.

Thonus, T. (1993). Tutors as Teachers: Assisting ESL/EFL students in the writing center. Writing Center Journal, 13(2), 13-26

University of Central Florida. Retrieved January 26, 2013.