Challenges and possibilities in tutorials in a writing center in Japan

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Maiko Nakatake, The University of Tokyo

In recent years, interest in English writing centers as a support service for students’ writing beyond the regular curriculum has been growing in Japanese universities. Our writing center at the University of Tokyo was established under a first-year scientific English writing course in 2008. Our writing center offers tutorial sessions for students’ L2 (English) writing in L1 (Japanese) on a one-to-one basis. This article provides a brief introduction to our writing center and describes the challenges that tutors face, which are unique to writing centers in contexts where English is a foreign language. In this article, I would like to focus on three major points: the issue of grammar correction, tutors’ English proficiency, and tutees’ unfamiliarity with the writing center and tutoring style. This article also discusses the roles and possibilities of writing centers in Japan for both tutors and students.