Eastern, Western. Individualism, Collectivism. Strong Voice and Counterpoints, Flow and cohesion. Emotion, Logic. And just like that, the cultural divide can affect writing. IN a tutoring setting, how do we handle this? When a tutee comes in from an opposing culture, do we challenge their cultural beliefs or reinforce their current methods of thinking? I think it’s a little bit of both. For example, being a very individualistic person, if a collectivist comes in with an overwhelmingly tranquil paper–flowing paragraphs, peaceful diction, not too many risky counterpoints in the argument–I would first commend them on their strengths. Beautifully crafted and sensible.But at the same time, my sassy writing style and individualistic spin would be clashing with their personal style. It isn’t appropriate for me to change their overall voice or argument–not only from a cultural standpoint but from an originality view. That isn’t to say that I can’t challenge their beliefs in a peaceful, academic way. Example: “What would be the effect of changing the diction here? Would it clash with your paper and overall goal, or would adding opposition strengthen it? What were you going for when you wrote this tone into the paper?” etc.

So in other words, when the cultural chasm comes up in tutoring (East Side, West Side), challenge your tutee but preserve their originality.

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