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Exploring English writing through online peer tutorials and revisions: A case study from an English writing class

Sinh Thi Thu Nguyen, Mei-hsing Tsai
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan


Individual writing tutorials have been proven to benefit second language (L2) learners. However, previous studies have been mainly conducted in the form of face-to-face tutoring sessions in writing centers. To date, there is a scarce number of research on synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) peer tutoring. To bridge this research gap, the present study examines tutor-tutee interactions between an international tutor and a Taiwanese tutee in a series of tutorials in conjunction with an English writing course for non-English majors at a large university in Taiwan. Based on the framework of Vygotskian sociocultural theory, we investigate six online video-recorded tutoring sessions, twelve pieces of writing conducted by the tutee, as well as a pre-interview with the tutor and post-interviews with the tutor and tutee respectively. We seek to better understand the interactions between the international tutor and Taiwanese tutee in SCMC tutoring sessions, specifically examining the change in the tutor’s mediational strategies throughout the process, and the progression of the tutee’s text quality over time. Specifically, we investigate to what extent the tutor varies her mediational moves to tutoring the same tutee when the writing tasks are different and to what extent the tutee incorporates the tutor’s revision suggestions into his subsequent drafts. It is expected to see that the tutor uses a range of mediational strategies to support the tutee’s writing, from implicit to more explicit ones. By incorporating the tutor’s revision suggestions, there would be a significant improvement in the tutee’s writing assignments. This study aims to establish empirical connections between tutor-tutee interactions and an L2 learner’s development of English writing skills. The findings of this study have important pedagogical implications for L2 writing tutorials in SCMC contexts, as they offer valuable insights for online tutoring mediation and text revisions.


L2 writing tutorials, SCMC, Vygotskian sociocultural theory, tutor-tutee interaction, text revisions

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023