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ERIC Number: EJ1007936
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Managing Face Threats and Instructions in Online Tutoring
Brummernhenrich, Benjamin; Jucks, Regina
Journal of Educational Psychology, v105 n2 p341-350 May 2013
Although tutoring is very effective, tutors often neglect certain strategies such as direct negative feedback. This might be because they want to avoid threatening their tutee's face. The concept of face derives from politeness theory and refers to the aspects of autonomy and social appreciation people claim for themselves and strive to negotiate cooperatively in discourse. We argue that tutors' politeness considerations can hinder effective tutoring. We compared 2 interventions in naturalistic tutoring interactions designed to influence tutors' communication acts: In a politeness condition, tutors were advised not to restrict autonomy when explaining concepts or correcting them in order to save their tutee's face. In a no-politeness condition, in contrast, they were encouraged to communicate clearly and explicitly. Results showed that tutors in the no-politeness condition used not only more direct strategies such as requests and hints, but, unexpectedly, also more politeness strategies to mitigate their directness. We conclude that there is a clear connection between politeness and instructional moves, but it remains unclear whether tutors avoid instructional face threats because they construe them as face-threatening. We suggest how further research could cast light on the conditions under which politeness is detrimental or beneficial for tutoring. (Contains 2 figures and 3 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany