Writing Center as Contact Zone: Resources for Mediation
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When ESL writers write, they are attempting to be heard in an academic community. One of the academy’s shortcomings is its disinclination to hear from writers who struggle with academic discourse. In a contact zone, such as a university that includes accomplished and novice academics, communication becomes a casualty (particularly with novices whose first language is not English). If writing centers and their staffs are the cultural mediators of this contact zone, then we must first be afforded the tools to do our work: a good text, skilled teachers, sufficient funding, and an un-marginalized place on the campus. Irrespective of these resources, however, writing consultants can provide ESL writers with knowledge of contrastive rhetorics and how a failure to acculturate to demands for standard American academic writing may limit their success at the university level.