Directiveness in tutor talk
Keywords:Directiveness, Non-directiveness, Macro-pragmatics, Micro-pragmatics, Writing centres, Writing consultations, Writing tutors
The reigning orthodoxy in writing centres has been to avoid directive approaches and embrace non-directive approaches to tutoring. Although this ‘myth has been debunked by various writing centre scholars since the late 1990s, many guidebooks on tutoring still adhere to it. We believe that theory-led empirical research on tutor approaches and actions is necessary to demonstrate the situation-dependent efficacy of directive approaches, and thereby dispel the myth that a peer role is preferred to a teacherly role. This paper starts addressing the need for theory-led empirical research on directiveness by applying theories of linguistic pragmatics to analyze writing centre consultations, and assist writing centre tutors to develop a critical awareness of both their actions and students’ responses. First, an overview is given of the description of directiveness in the writing centre literature. This is followed by an overview of micro- and macropragmatic theories on speech acts in linguistics, and suggestions on how they may be applied to better understand the role of directiveness in writing centre consultations. This is followed by an overview of present research project, and an analysis of two excerpts (speech events) from a particular consultation. The article is concluded by a reflection on the findings, and suggestions are made on how to apply them towards improving writing centre pedagogy at the institution where the research was conducted.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Adelia Carstens, Avasha Rambiritch
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