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Tell Me How It Reads

Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center

Rebecca Day Babcock

Publication Year: 2012

Deaf students are attending mainstream postsecondary institutions in increasing numbers, raising the stakes for the complicated and multi-faceted topic of tutoring deaf students at these schools. Common tutoring practices used with hearing students do not necessarily work for deaf people. Rebecca Day Babcock researched and wrote Tell Me How It Reads: Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center to supply writing instructors an effective set of methods for teaching Deaf and other students how to be better writers. Babcock’s book is based on the resulting study of tutoring writing in the college context with both deaf and hearing students and their tutors. She describes in detail sessions between deaf students, hearing tutors, and the interpreters that help them communicate, using a variety of English or contact signing rather than ASL in the tutorials. These experiences illustrate the key differences between deaf-hearing and hearing-hearing tutorials and suggest ways to modify tutoring and tutor-training practices accordingly. Although this study describes methods for tutoring deaf students, its focus on students who learn differently can apply to teaching writing to Learning Disabled students, ESL students, and other non-mainstream students with different learning styles. Ultimately, the well-grounded theory analysis within Tell Me How It Reads provides a complete paradigm for all tutoring of writing.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-7

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pp. vii-xiii

FOR SOME TIME now, I have been interested in how writing centers can help all students. I am always looking for issues that provoke interest, cause writing center people to reflect on tutorial practices, and lead to improvement. Tutoring deaf students is one such issue. Compositionists and writing center professionals are interested in learning...

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pp. xiv-17

I WOULD LIKE TO thank my family, especially Mike Babcock and Aileen, David, and Kristen Day, for supporting me in this research, the International Writing Centers Association and the Rock Valley College Foundation for funding the research, my professors Ben Rafoth, Rich...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-14

SHORTLY AFTER I began directing the writing center at the University of Texas at Brownsville, two deaf students began coming in for tutoring. This event not only disrupted our routine but also sparked an ongoing interest in the complicated and multifaceted topic of tutoring deaf students at mainstream hearing postsecondary...

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INTERLUDE. Deaf Tutees

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pp. 15-21

THE STORIES OF the various participants in this study are interspersed throughout the chapters. First I present the profiles of the deaf tutees. The rest will follow in the remaining chapters. For this study I took a cultural rather than a clinical view of deafness. For instance, I did not gather information about students’ levels of hearing loss and residual hearing...

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2. The Research Context

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pp. 22-30

THE CONCEPT OF insider/outsider status is complex: “A single body cannot bridge that mythical divide between insider and outsider, researcher and researched. I am neither, in any simple way, yet I am both” (Weston, quoted in Olesen 2000, 227). Like Weston, as a researcher, I...

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INTERLUDE. Hearing Tutees

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pp. 31-35

Squirt is twenty-one years old, white, and hearing. She is also a lesbian, and this identity is extremely important to her. She has a specific learning disability that affects her receptive and expressive language abilities. She chose her unusual pseudonym because she wanted to be named after her cat. Her cat’s name is Squirt, but I misheard it as Sport....

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3. Literacy Work in the Tutoring Session

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pp. 36-66

THE CONTENTS OF a tutoring session are similar regardless of whether the conference involves a deaf student and a hearing tutor or a hearing student and a hearing tutor. In fact, all of the tutoring sessions I observed—for both deaf and hearing tutees—centered around some...

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pp. 67-74

John had been a tutor at Davis College for two years when we started our observations. John, who is a white hearing male in his early twenties, is a film major. He took the tutor-training course at Davis with the writing center director, Ann, and found it to be valuable. In addition, he...

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4. How Tutoring Gets Done

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pp. 75-115

THROUGH MY GROUNDED-THEORY coding and analysis of the tutoring sessions, I found that the tutors and students engaged in two primary kinds of interactions—taking charge and making sense, based on either (1) discourse or interaction or (2) texts. Taking charge is the act of...

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INTERLUDE. Interpreters

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pp. 116-120

Linda is an interpreter and instructor at Davis College. She is in her twenties, white, and hearing. She has been interpreting for six years and has interpreted quite a few tutoring sessions in writing and has also done both general educational interpreting in a classroom situation and “platform...

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5. Interpersonal Factors

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pp. 121-156

WHILE CONDUCTING MY grounded-theory research, I discovered that the other factors influencing tutoring were mostly interpersonal— the way in which the participants related to each other during the sessions. These relational factors include the effectiveness of various...

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INTERLUDE. Administrators

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pp. 157-163

Brock is the assistant writing center director at Davis College. He is somewhere between twenty-five and thirty-five, white, and hearing. He is extremely involved in the writing center community and often takes groups of tutors to the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing....

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6. Tutoring Deaf Students in the Writing Center

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pp. 164-184

THE OVERARCHING PURPOSE of the research reported in this volume was to discover how tutoring sessions between a deaf tutee and a hearing tutor are conducted. As I analyzed the data, I looked at the dynamic between the participants, what was taught and learned, what...


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pp. 185-192


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pp. 193-207

E-ISBN-13: 9781563685477
E-ISBN-10: 1563685477
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563685484
Print-ISBN-10: 1563685485

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 7 tables
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 859687187
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Tell Me How It Reads

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching (Higher).
  • English language -- Remedial teaching.
  • Deaf -- Education (Higher).
  • Tutors and tutoring.
  • Writing centers.
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