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ERIC Number: EJ940526
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0889-6143
Theory in/to Practice: Using Dialogic Reflection to Develop a Writing Center Community of Practice
Hall, R. Mark
Writing Center Journal, v31 n1 p82-105 2011
Michael Mattison's "Someone to Watch Over Me: Reflection and Authority in the Writing Center" explores the problem of audience for tutors' reflective writing. In Mattison's case, tutoring practices and learning are undermined because reflective writing leads consultants to feel as though they are being spied upon by the writing center director. Surveillance, Mattison finds, directs and limits consultants' writing about their tutoring experiences. At the close of his essay, Mattison suggests an alternative: to achieve its espoused goals, rather than an internal monologue or a one-way communication from consultant to writing center director, reflective writing ought to be recast as dialogue among tutors. This essay takes up Mattison's call for dialogic reflection. By way of a writing center Weblog, the "Primary Document" in this installment of "Theory In/To Practice," consultants use reflective writing to engage in conversation about the theory and practice of tutoring. In this way, the blog plays a critical role in tutor training and in developing a writing center community of practice. By posting reflective writing to the blog and talking with peers about it, consultants maintain and transform their writing center community as they adopt and adapt its practices; likewise the community sustains and alters consultants through opportunities for participation and enculturation. As their blog posts illustrate, reflection-as-dialogue promotes deep theoretical understanding of writing center work, with discussion focused not only on procedural knowledge but also on explicating the values, assumptions, and beliefs which govern tutoring practices. In other words, common sense or explication without critical engagement is insufficient. Rather, to be useful, dialogic reflection must offer more than practical advice about how to tutor. In addition to considering local knowledge generated in its particular writing center context, dialogic reflection must also take up and engage--perhaps to question and maybe even dismiss--expert knowledge generated by writing center specialists. (Contains 1 note.)
Writing Center Journal. 011 Memorial Hall University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19718. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A