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Volume 18 Number 1, Spring 2021, Pages 1-389   


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The Strategic Use of Withdrawal by Korean Tutors of English Writing

    Sookyung Cho, Dahee Kim, Cheol Baek, & Hyeon-Ji Lee


This study explores how Korean writing tutors use withdrawal, i.e., canceling feedback or questioning the reliability of feedback, and the different purposes of employing this strategy. While studies investigating interactions between writing tutors and tutees usually focus on those between L1 tutors with non-native speaker tutees, recently, a few studies have examined non-native speaker tutor interactions with tutees. However, very few attempts have been made to examine how EFL tutors work with their tutees. EFL tutor interactions are interesting in that due to self-perceptions of lower English proficiency, these tutors may use unique strategies when interacting with their tutees. To explore these strategies, we audio-recorded 11 writing tutorials of four Korean writing tutors across one semester and interviewed the tutors. Analysis of the recorded data reveals that all four tutors frequently used the strategy of withdrawal. The interviews confirm that withdrawal accomplishes multiple functions: compensating for the tutor's uncertainty and limited knowledge, attributing the responsibility of revision to the tutee, and considering the tutee's intentions and emotions. These findings are an important step to better understand non-native writing tutor-tutee interactions and can provide guidance on training future tutors.

Keywords: withdrawal, tutor interaction, tutor feedback, EFL, non-native tutors