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Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 2012, Pages 1-189   

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Reflective Journals in EFL Tutoring

    Lindsay Mack

As Writing Centers begin to expand from the West to new international contexts, L2 tutors, instead of native speaker tutors, are now being hired. These tutors face distinct problems in tutoring EFL students and little research has been done on the types of challenges these tutors encounter or the implications these issues have for tutor development. This paper examines the types of problems L2 writing tutors face when tutoring EFL students and the role reflective journals plays in understanding these issues. Data was collected from five L2 writing tutors in the form of nine reflective journal entries, per tutor, over a two month period making for 45 in total. The results show that tutors had difficulty in distinguishing between lower order concerns (LOC) and higher order concerns (HOC). Tutors also expressed that they were often required to take on a didactic role through being asked to offer explicit knowledge about an assignment. It is argued that there are two potential benefits in utilizing L2 tutors: empathy for the tutee and explicit grammar knowledge. In the discussion, the author analyzes the experiences of the L2 writing tutors and explores the ways in which these insights can be useful to their professional development.

Keywords: EFL tutoring, reflective journals, writing center