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TutorTIPs: Writing

Tutor Training Intensive Programs

All trainings included in this section have been developed by the discipline and will be implemented by Learning Resources to best support the discipline needs.

The Writing Process and Tutoring

  • If you look in the books, we see writing described as so much more; but tutoring is reduced.
  • My section today is going to trying to put you in the position of valuing the entire process, remind us or start us on the path that we are part of the entire process.


Rooting Your Understanding/Practice Not in Rules but Process & Language Development

  • Where is the writer in the process and what might push her forward?
  • Where did this language convention, this rule come from in spoken language/written language transformation.  Many things we do we do because audience not present.


Activity:  Record a literacy narrative:

  • Partner up with another tutor. One tutor will tell the other a story. While he/she is telling the story, the other tutor will write down a transcript of what he/she is hearing. Make sure to include every word, vocal tic, and punctuation to show pauses and breaths.
    • Topics to choose from:
      • Describe a challenge or challenges you have confronted as a writer?
      • Who is a person who nurtured/or delayed your writing development?
      • Share a time when you finally felt like a competent writer.
  • If your are completing this training alone, use a recorded narrative from the materials section below.
  • Read transcripts and discuss the spoken word patterns you found in the transcripts
  • Pair work on one global revision related to development.  I would like to hear more about…
  • Reflection: 
    • What did you focus on when analyzing the transcripts?
    • What did you learn from this activity that you can take into tutoring?





Global Revision vs. Sentence Level Revision
Higher Order vs. Lower Order Concerns





Required Reading/Presentations:

  • Review the powerpoint titled “HOC vs. LOC” in the materials section below.
  • Read pp. 48-54 in The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors
  • Consider these questions:
    • What is the difference between global revisions and sentence level revisions?
    • How can we help students with both?
    • How do we prioritize the issues in a student's writing?


Activity:  Looking for Global and sentence level patterns.

  • The assignment below is from an ENC1101 class. Review the prompt and requirements: 

  • Select one of the sample papers from the below “materials” section.
  • Read all the way through and choose one sentence level and one global issue that you feel is the most important. 
  • Mark pattern most glaring using a highlighter. Remember, no pens!
  • Reflection:  Use handbook to find one way to address global and one sentence level.  


Welcome to the ESL Writers portion of the training! This section is approximately two hours long and includes the following:

  • Warm-up Activity
  • Basic ESL Concepts Presentation and Activity
  • Reading and Reflection
  • Role Play

By the end of the session, you should be able to

  • describe the challenges that writing in a foreign language presents
  • explain how your understanding of some basic ESL concepts might have an effect on your interaction with ESL writers
  • share some strategies for helping ESL writers improve their grammar without becoming an editor

If you are participating in a face-to-face training, you will participate in discussions and produce a written response to the reflection questions after reading Chapter 10 of "ESL Writers."

If you are completing the training on your own, please proceed to the "ESL Slides" PowerPoint below. Be sure to read the slide notes and respond to the self-study questions on the bottom of this page.

ESL Training Self-Study Questions

  1. How might your awareness of the concepts listed below influence the way you conduct a tutoring session with an ESL writer?
    • Common Underlying Proficiency
    • Generation 1 vs. Generation 1.5 writers
    • BICS and CALP
    • Affective filter


  1. Please respond to the following questions after reading Chapter 10 (Editing Line by Line) from "ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors."
    • Which of the six error types mentioned in the chapter do you feel most confident you could help an ESL writer to understand and correct? Which error type would be most difficult for you to explain?
    • What strategies for sentence-level editing of an ESL writer's texts are presented in the chapter?
    • How are these strategies similar to/different from strategies you might use with a native speaker of English?


  • What are the basic elements of a writing tutorial?
  • What are some strategies you can use to keep the student actively engaged in the session?
  • How can you encourage a student to talk during a session?
  • What strategies can you use to help a student start writing?
  • What can/should you do when a student comes in with a partial draft?
  • Is thesis development a higher or lower order concern?
  • What are some examples of higher/lower order concerns?
  • Is punctuation a higher or lower order concern?
  • What is plagiarism?
  • What are some things you should not do when you suspect a student may have plagiarized?
  • What are some strategies you can use to end a tutoring session effectively?