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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.98 pp.119-136

Asian ESL Tutees’ Construction of Peer-Tutoring Sessions in the Weekly Reflections

Ki-tae Kim
Keimyung University


The pre-collegiate ESL tutor program at a small satellite campus of a large state university in the USA changed its orientation from a conversation partner program to the recitation program. In so doing, it required both the tutors and the (mostly Asian) tutees to submit weekly reports along with short reflections to each course instructor and to the ESL program coordinator The current action research study qualitatively explored the tutee reflections and investigated their discursive characterization of the tutoring sessions and/or the tutors in an attempt to examine if the change in the program direction was perceivably implemented duing the transition. The data for the study consisted of more than 210 weekly tutee reports for five intermediate and high-intermediate ESL courses that the program offered in spring 2009. The findings illustrated that the reflections generally constructed the peer-tutoring sessions as an academic event, but not so much as an intercultural encounter. In addition, the reflections also constructed the most appreciated qualities of the tutors as kindness in personalty and clarity in academic explanations, but many were lacking substantive details of their praises. The overall findings suggested that the change in the program direction was being implemented as intended albeit at some expense of intercultural awareness. Simultaneously, the findings also pointed to the need of clearer instructions for the academic orientation of the program, intercultural awareness, and more substantive reflections. Finally, the ethnographic background and the findings demonstrated that the pre-collegiate ESL tutor program had its own challenges that were identifiably distinct from those in a tutor program at college writing centers or in EFL peer-tutor programs in an EFL context.