A Writing Center Pedagogy Rooted in Care Ethics




Lopez, Carlos A.

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Debates over the limitations of interventionist and minimalist tutoring pedagogies risk creating a false-dichotomy. This false-dichotomy distracts a Writing Center's efforts of fostering core values of centership, agency, and creativity. While worrying about aligning tutoring praxis with the rules, principles, and guidelines of either of these mainstream pedagogies, tutors make secondary their relationships with writers. While both interventionism and minimalism are argued to produce a Writing Center pedagogy which does not maintain core Writing Center values, minimalism is the more popular, dominant practice of the two, so the primary critique of this thesis is of a minimalist pedagogy. Minimalism makes these detrimental assumptions of its writers: i. an expectation of writing skill which is not had by the writer, and ii. the writer's work is theirs entirely, and any intervention made by a tutor is a violation of academic integrity as well as an affront to the authorial autonomy of the writer. This thesis presents a response to the false- dichotomy between interventionist and minimalist Writing Center pedagogies: a Writing Center pedagogy rooted in care ethics. It argues that care ethics provides a better foundation for a Writing Center pedagogy in terms of its ability to avoid making detrimental assumptions of autonomy of a writer, to maintain core values of a Writing Center, and its ability to handle morally complex relationships.


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Applied Ethics, Care Ethics, Ethics, Pedagogy, Tutoring, Writing Center