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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

My experience tutoring at the UIC Writing Center has opened my eyes to the various obstacles that writers face, in particular writers who are English Language Learners (ELL). This Inspired me to establish a qualitative research project investigating how the Writing Center can best support ELL writers not only in learning grammar and/or culturally specific writing conventions but also with the discrimination and stigmatization that they often face based on their not-yet-developed knowledge of Standard American English. The research question explored was: What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of a multilingual tutor working with an ELL writer in a peer tutoring session at the UIC Writing Center? The research method applied was a literature review, as well as interviews with and surveys given to participants including UIC Writing Center Tutors and writers (both native English speakers and ELL) as well as TESOL teachers and scholars. The research results suggested several benefits to multilingual tutors for ELL writers, including shared experiences from language learning and overcoming language obstacles, similar cultural insight, and the establishment of a sense of commonality. The results from the surveys and interviews displayed that certain disadvantages can be overcome through equal efforts by the writer and tutor. The research implications ultimately are that it is immensely important to make all tutors, not solely multilingual tutors, approach ELL writers in an empathetic, understanding and non-stigmatizing manner.

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