At the UCWbL, we talk a lot about best practices, and we work hard every quarter to refine and perfect our approaches to all kinds of tutoring contexts. One of the ways we do this is by holding a series of quarterly professional development events called “Inservices.”
The Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research offered an Inservice on one of our most popular services: Conversation Partner Appointments. To better serve the writing and oral language development of DePaul’s international and multilingual writers, the UCWbL offers both text-based and conversation-based appointments. Drawing on research from Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, the UCWbL sees a strong connection between oral and written skills. Our Conversation Partner Appointments offer additional oral language support to help maximize that connection.
The goal of this Inservice was to help our tutors better understand the theoretical basis for Conversation Partner Appointments and to think critically about best practices. Our presentation introduced some theory, offered moments of reflection, and provided ways to approach Conversation Partner Appointments—setting the agenda and then practicing conversation, talking about conversation, and talking about language. Then using this handout, we went through several scenarios, discussing how we might navigate the situation.