Date of Award

1-21-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Bennett A. Rafoth, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Nicole Kraemer Munday, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study examines the narratives of writing center peer tutors and the writers with whom they work, investigating the ways in which their stories coincide with, contradict, and reimagine the dominant narratives of peer tutoring. Drawing from Grimm's (2002) theory of the "transitional space" of the tutorial and McKinney's (2013) conception of the "grand narrative" of writing center work, this study aims to reposition the conversation about the interaction between tutors and writers, illustrating the ways in which their voices can enhance understandings of writing center theory and pedagogy. Drawing from narrative inquiry and grounded theory, this case study examines the narratives of tutors and writers, addressing the following research questions: * What stories do tutors and writers tell about their work in the writing center? * How do these stories reflect how tutors and writers perceive writing center work? * How do these stories support, contradict, expand or reimagine the dominant narratives of peer tutoring, and how can the study of tutors' and writers' stories advance our understanding of writing center work? Ultimately, significant differences were discovered in the stories tutors and writers told and in their perceptions of one another and of writing center work. Tutors focused in their stories on "higher order concerns" and made clear differentiations about what issues tutors should and should not help with. Writers perceived the role of the tutor as more flexible and told stories that spanned well beyond the space of the tutoring session. While tutors' stories were clearly shaped by dominant narratives of peer tutoring, their narratives also revealed significant insights about the teaching of writing; writers' narratives, too, painted their needs, and insights in more complex terms than often discussed in writing center literature. This study presents an argument for the inclusion of the voices and stories of tutors and writers in the development of writing center theory and pedagogy. Moreover, it posits that the dominant narratives of peer tutoring are insufficiently complex and that the stories of tutors and writers play a key role in the reimagining of these dominant narratives.

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