Writing centres and the turn toward multilingual and multilitercy writing tutoring
Book chapter, 2016
This chapter addresses the question of how universities organise out-of-class, additional academic support for EAP students. In many institutions, language centres assist students in developing their listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills for academic English. In the United States there is also a long tradition of university writing centres, whose tutors work individually with both native and non-native speakers of English on learning to write critically and academically in English. More recently, interest in writing centres and dedicated academic writing tutoring has grown in Europe and the UK, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world, and has brought with it increasing attention to the role of writing centres in working with EAP learners on their writing skills. Increased interest in writing centre methodology and its potential for facilitating writing support can also be seen to have led to a gradual change of character in writing centre oriented research in combining ethnographic approaches and research that meets Haswell’s RAD criteria (Driscoll and Perdue, 2012)
This chapter begins by examining EAP support offered by language centres. It then explores writing centres as a distinct form of provision offering individualised support in learning argumentation, critical thinking, and other macro-level skills of writing in academic genres. Drawing on recent texts (e.g. Thaiss et al., 2012) as well as seminal publications (e.g. North, 1984) on writing centres/writing centres, the chapter looks at what the ‘traditional’ writing centre has to offer EAP students. The authors then consider what implications new directions writing centres are taking into the areas of multilingual writing tutoring (e.g. Grimm 2009; Herrero-Puertas, 2011; Dickinson 2014) and multiliteracies (e.g. Sheridan and Inman 2010; Balester et al., 2012; Gabor 2012) may have for EAP students, and whether or not these new developments in writing centre work will result in better and more comprehensive writing support being made available to EAP students.