Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Deaf Peer Tutors and Deaf Tutees as Pairs in a College Writing Center
by Kenney, Patricia C., Ed.D., University of Rochester, 2018, 223; 13833160
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation seeks to understand college writing-center work between peer tutors and college students—called peer tutoring. Specifically, this study explores peer tutoring between deaf peer tutors and deaf tutees as they discuss academic writing. Further, this study investigates how deaf peer tutors and deaf tutees who are bilingual users of American Sign Language (ASL) and English use strategies to support the learning of academic writing during a tutorial session in a writing center. My review of the writing-center literature shows that research on the topic of a deaf peer tutor (DPT) and a deaf tutee (DT) as a pair is limited. While the literature on deaf tutees is expanding, the research studies on deaf peer tutors remain little understood. In fact, the literature on the retention rate of deaf college students remains low and persistent (Marschark & Hauser, 2008). I conducted a qualitative case study to explore the DPT-DT interaction in a writing-center setting with a theoretical framework of (1) sociocultural, (2) ASL/English bilingual, and (3) Deaf Critical (DeafCrit) theories. The analytical framework contains an early form of grounded theory analysis and a four-layer discourse analysis, which highlights the micro and macro views of the DPT-DT interaction. One of the three main findings shows that the study participants relied on visual discourse markers, consisting of signed modality and peripheral communication, which clearly supports deaf-student learning of academic writing in English. Another finding reveals that tutors offered many `explaining incidents' compared to the other five means of assistance: giving feedback, questioning, giving hints, modeling, and instructing. Finally, the third finding relates to the participants' lived experiences of audism during their school years where they experienced limited access to learning English incidentally—a form of oppression. This research effort has the potential to promote writing support for deaf students and writing-center practices for hearing and deaf tutors who are interested in working with deaf students. Further, this research effort has the potential to improve the retention rate for deaf college students and to increase career opportunities for deaf peer tutors in the writing-center field.

Keywords: Academic writing, writing center, peer tutoring, deaf college students, discourse markers, sociocultural theories, ASL/English bilingual theory, DeafCrit

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ares, Nancy
School: University of Rochester
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 80/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, English as a Second Language, Pedagogy
Keywords: ASL/English Bilingual Theory, Deaf College Students, Deaf Crit Theory, Peer Tutoring, Sociocultural Theories, Writing Center
Publication Number: 13833160
ISBN: 978-0-438-79455-9
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