Departmental Bulletin Paper Peer Learning and Academic Standing in Japanese Writing Centers: Preliminary Findings

DELGREGO, Nicholas

(87)  , pp.265 - 276 , 2018-03-01 , 都留文科大学
 This preliminary research shows incidences of positive true peer learning duringtutoring sessions in writing centers at Japanese universities. In most writing centers atJapanese universities, tutors are required to be graduate students. There is apreconceived notion among some administrative staff and some faculty that undergraduatestudents are unable to properly assist each other because someone must always be in the“teacher role” and someone must always be in the “learner role”. This assumption, oftenreferred to as peer teaching, is in direct conflict with the foundation of peer learning(Boud, Cohen, Sampson, 2001). Most writing centers allow graduate students to tutorother graduate students and in some cases even faculty members, but undergraduates areusually prohibited from formally assisting other undergraduates. In order to discuss thecase for more authentic peer learning, this paper first defines peer learning and identifieshow it should take place within a sample tutoring session. To further illustrate this point,several tutoring sessions at a Japanese university writing center have been analyzed andexamples of peer learning through conversation were examined. The tutors in the sessionswere of a similar or lower academic standing than the writer (i.e. – graduate student tutorassisting a faculty member writer, and so on). The paper concludes with the argument formore acceptance of true peer learning opportunities in writing centers at Japaneseuniversities.

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