Enabling practices at the centre

A threshold concept approach to tutoring multilingual writers







The recent focus on threshold concepts in writing studies indicates the field’s growing commitment to engaging writing-based threshold concepts in the daily work of teaching and learning to facilitate writing transfer. However, although there is growing evidence of robust scholarly work in this area, research on the pedagogical importance of these concepts to the writing development and tutoring of L2 students is still in its nascent stages. To address this gap, this paper first presents findings from a research study that aims to understand how writing centre tutors addressed the needs of L2 students in tutoring sessions and the extent to which threshold-oriented language appeared in the content of the conference summaries. After discussing the findings, the paper proposes a threshold concept-based framework for tutoring L2 writers involving two established concepts: ‘writers’ histories, processes, and identities vary’ and ‘writing is informed by prior experiences.’ In addition, a new model of the conference summary as a reflective tool to promote writing transfer is presented along with a discussion of emergent writing centre-oriented concepts that reimagine the role of the tutor as an ‘expert-outsider’ and the L2 student as ‘informed novice.'

Author Biography

Gita DasBender, New York University

Gita DasBender is a senior lecturer in the Expository Writing Program at New York University, NY, USA. Her research interests include second language writing, assessment, writing transfer, threshold concepts in writing, genre studies, international writing research, and teacher education in global contexts.


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How to Cite

DasBender, G. . (2021). Enabling practices at the centre: A threshold concept approach to tutoring multilingual writers. Writing and Pedagogy, 12(2-3), 257–278. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.19539