Publication Date

Spring 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Linguistics and Language Development


Rosemary Henze


Academic Writing, Dialogues, Second-language learners, Writing Center, Writing Conferences, Writing Tutor

Subject Areas

Language, Rhetoric and Composition; Language, Linguistics; Bilingual Education


This thesis presents an analysis of dialogues between writing tutors and second-language learners in a writing center setting. The analysis includes a discussion about session appropriation by tutors, the validity of addressing sentence-level mistakes during writing conferences, and strategies that tutors may use to make the sessions beneficial to second-language learners. Among the literature covered throughout the study are studies on Educational Psychology, L1 and L2 Composition, and Cognitive Linguistics (Situated Learning). Collected data include measurements of dialogical patterns in the sessions and qualitative data extracted from session recordings and interviews with interlocutors. Study results suggest that a) sentence-level correction should take place during tutoring sessions involving second-language learners at different stages of the writing process, b) tutors should be explicitly trained in strategies to minimize their session ownership and increase tutee participation time, and c) researchers must look beyond interlocutors' talk time when addressing issues of tutor appropriation.