Student perceptions of non-native English speaking tutors at a writing center in Japan
Abstract In writing center studies, research has mainly focused on interactions between native English-speaking tutors and their tutees, and there remains a paucity of research exploring identities and challenges of non-native English speaking writing center tutors. Drawing on notions of student stances and motives from peer feedback research, this study investigated how Japanese graduate student writers evaluated their English writing tutorials with non-native tutors at a Japanese university. Four tutoring sessions were audio-recorded and post-tutorial interviews were conducted with both tutors and tutees to examine their stances and motives. In analyzing the data, it was found that certain conditions needed to be met for the positive evaluation of tutorials with non-native tutors: (a) the match between tutor and tutee motives, (b) tutees’ preference of particular tutoring strategies, and (c) a trust in the tutor’s writing, but not necessarily their language expertise. The findings suggest that what played into these conditions was the tutor’s projected stance as a non-native tutor with expertise in higher-order issues (e.g., textual organization and coherence), which impacted their display of knowledge and tutees’ perceptions.