Peer-tutoring in Academic Writing: The Infectious Nature of Engagement
Keywords:peer tutoring, writing tutor, writing center, writing centre
Students often struggle with writing as they are unaware of the process of writing and of strategies and skills to help them write well. They often focus on the product of writing rather than engaging with the process of writing. However, it is in the process of writing, and in the discovery of that process, that learning happens (Murray 1973, Emig 1977, Berlin 1982). It is thought that the inductive, non-intrusive model of peer-tutoring practiced at the Regional Writing Centre at the University of Limerick, based on the model proposed by Ryan and Zimmerelli (2006), encourages students to engage with their own writing and learning in a non-threatening, approachable and positive manner. However, amidst the rising debate on what constitutes student engagement with learning, it is timely to investigate whether, and to what extent, the model used to train peer tutors in the Regional Writing Centre constitutes real and meaningful student engagement for those who peer tutor in the Centre and for the students they tutor.