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Considering the role of a tutor ( Or the many)?

The tutor’s role can be viewed differently from both the student and the tutor him/herself. From the student’s perspective they sometimes see them as an authority figure, someone that makes the rules and can pre-grade their paper. The tutor is far from it. When it comes to authority the student is in charge since it is their piece, the tutor is a guide or even assistant. Advice is given on thoughts, vocabulary, flow, and more to the student and that advice can be followed or disregarded freely. The tutor walks the student through the writing process and helps translate what they want to say versus what is currently being said or understood. Tutors are guides to a clearer, fuller, and or more interesting piece but a guide does not carry the student, we follow them and assist on the way.

Conflictions, questions, and even blocks can prevent a student from accomplishing a great paper. The tutor’s role tends to skew from a simple guide to a teacher or coach. Information is delivered in a relatable way, from personal experience to actual text book. Each and every student requires a different approach. The uniqueness requires tutors to be flexible, understanding, and most of all encouraging.

One generic role is impossible for a tutor to follow in order to help a student. Tutor’s need to be a guide, an assistant, a teacher, and most of all: a friend.


  1. "A friend in need is a friend indeed," eh? Anyway, I like where you are going with the idea, but it also makes me think of boundaries. Just as we have boundaries with what we will do while being a "guide" or a "coach," we will have boundaries on being a "friend." In any case, I think a benevolent attitude is probably the most conducive to learning and giving writers unconditional positive regard is essential. (We'll talk about unconditional positive regard in class, but here is a Wikipedia link on the subject:

  2. I think the boundary between tutor and student can be a difficult one. I agree that "struggling for authority" can be an issue during a session. I am a writing fellow at Nova Southeastern University and we are embedded fellows. We sit in on classes with the same student for 14 weeks. It is hard to say that we do not build some sort of rapport with our students. This also makes our jobs difficult because we do have to be the authority figure at times and not just the peer.

  3. Sometimes, as a writing tutor, it's hard to set a boundary between changing a sentence to how I would write it vs. to fixing it so that it's simply grammatical.

    Sometimes, the line between encouraging and guiding the students and his/her ideas and outright adding in your own ideas can be blurred, particularly when the student is making use of your services specifically in order to improve his or her grades. The tutor definitely is somewhere between the authority figure and a guide or mentor.

  4. Cheryl Boucher12:36 AM

    Well, it depends on the tutoring conditions Magda. But more importantly, he is authority when thought from his/her end and a guide that should be flexible, encouraging and friendly when considered from the student's perspective.

  5. More so than for other subjects, it is vital that writing tutors maintain a professionalism that prevents them from doing the student's work for them.


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