What’s Your Plan for the Consultation? Examining Alignment between Tutorial Plans and Consultations among Writing Tutors Using the Read/Plan-Ahead Tutoring Method from Praxis: A Writing Center Journal Vol. 20 No. 2

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Date

2023

Authors

Awad Scrocco, Diana

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Praxis

Abstract

Writing center scholars and tutor-training manuals historically emphasize the importance of tutors and writers collaboratively negotiating consultation agendas to maintain writers’ ownership over their writing. However, when tutors encounter advanced student writers, writers from unfamiliar fields, or writers with complex linguistic repertoires, they may struggle to read student writing, identify writing issues, and negotiate effective, mutual agendas. One tool for navigating these challenges is the “read-ahead method”—in which tutors read student writing in advance and prepare for consultations (Scrocco 10). While this method offers potential advantages, a brief survey reveals that some writing center administrators worry that tutors who read student writing in advance may hijack consultation agendas. This exploratory mixed-methods study examines thirteen tutor-supervisor planning conversations and subsequent consultations to assess the correspondence between tutors’ plans and consultations and to consider what factors may support or undermine writers’ agendas. Results suggest that tutors who use the read/plan-ahead method do not fervently push their planned agendas over writers’ agendas. However, very detailed or particularly vague pre-consultation planning may set tutors up for sessions that fail to negotiate and carry out cohesive, well-prioritized shared agendas. The most collaborative, coherent consultations in this study balance tutor and writer agendas. They begin with writers’ submitted concerns, identify high-priority global writing issues, engage in substantive agenda-setting with writers, explicitly link tutors’ plans with writers’ agendas, and abandon tutors’ plans when needed. The read/plan-ahead model works best when tutors remember to place writers at the heart of building, revising, and enacting consultation agendas.

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