Rachel Amity ACF Abstract FY13

Talking the Talk: Linguistic Fae Theory in the Writing Center

National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing

Writing consultants’ simultaneous identities as peers and tutors can sometimes pull them in different directions: on one hand, they are specially trained, semi-professionals; on the other, they are young adults with the same challenges and stressors as the students with whom they work.  One way for tutors to balance and synthesize these identities is to apply linguistic face theory to their consultations.  In linguistics, “face” refers to one’s public self-image.  Everyone has face, and though we may not realize it, we constantly and unconsciously respond to face in our everyday interactions.  Knowing about face allows us to communicate more effectively and to negotiate social power dynamics more efficiently.  This is especially true in the Writing Center, as tutors often construct, balance, and share power through their discourse with students.  This presentation combines published literature, original naturalistic observations, and feedback from tutors to investigate the various face-saving and face-threatening acts that tutors can use to not only help students become better writers, but also to help tutors themselves feel more clear and confident about their identities in the Writing Center.

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