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ERIC Number: ED398580
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Asymmetries of Knowledge: What Tutor-Student Interactions Tell Us about Expertise.
Munger, Roger H.
Writing centers are one place where expert-novice interactions are likely to occur. Students often assume that tutors possess expertise by virtue of their appointment as tutors. The tutor, for his/her part, often assumes that the student's knowledge is deficient in the area in which the student is seeking advice. The complex interactional and linguistic demands on the participants of tutoring sessions are interesting in that usually both parties agree to coordinate their talk, but frequently, this coordination fails. The tutor-student interaction can be focused on the effect of questions. Questions play an important role in interactions where an asymmetry of knowledge exists and the conversants agree, at least initially, to try to reduce this asymmetry. Questions are one such speech choice that reveals power relationships. The teaching sequences present in most tutoring sessions replace the normal egalitarian style of dialogue with a hierarchical one. Using J. J. Gumperz and N. Berenz's (1993) method of conversational transcription, the role questions play in indexing expert and novice roles was analyzed. The student (a female graduate student) had expertise in an area she was discussing with the tutor (also a female graduate student). The women, however, assumed positions that conventions expect of them, and as a result, the student did not get what she wanted out of the meeting and the tutor become frustrated. It is recommended that future research should focus on describing and categorizing the ways novice students subvert the expert-novice frame of tutor-student interactions. (Contains 12 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A