Sometimes our environment can make us feel like this.

Culture can be a difficult thing to account for.  While most of us take our culture and standards as the norm, it is important to realize that not everyones culture is the same.  During a class video we watched on Wednesday we witnessed one student from an African country explain that she did not feel that she could objectively write a paper because in her country she was not allowed to criticize government at all.  My own family has a similar experience because my mother is orginally from Cuba.  My own mother and aunt remind me to never take my freedom to speak my mind for granted.  This idea of culture can sneak into our writing in many different ways.  As a tutor it is our job to recognize culture and help the student to understand that things can be handled differently.  There are several examples of possible conflicts.  Some students writing may not be politically correct, as in having a mesogynistic message or tone.  Some students may have an issue with expressing their opinion because culturally they try to never speak out against people in positions of power, like a boss or professor.  As a tutor it is important to not only be contious of grammer and format, but also of tone and message.  Remember that our job is not to make them conform to “The Way we Do Things”, instead our goal should be to explain to them that they have other options.  The wonderful thing about English is the variation.   Two people can take a great piece of work, rewrite and reorder it, and that can produce two outstanding pieces.  There is no magic bullet, or one particular way to do things.  Lastly I think it is important to discuss different standards of organization between cultures.  American writing tends to focus on organization and delivery.  Is your message organized and is it written effectively to engage the reader?  Some Asian cultures put very little emphasis into organization and clarity.  They feel that there job is to write and the readers job is to understand.  By putting all this onous on the reader they are freeing themselves of having to make stylistic choices about clarity.  Again while we should feel free to insert our opinion and try to explain to the student why changes might be nessecary, ultimately it is up to the student to adopt these changes or ignore the problem.  If the student is leaning towards not listening, he will most likely be given his greatest reason to change when he recieves the first bad grade back from his teacher.   As tutors we should try our very best to free students from the prison of one way writing and try to inform them of all the possible avenues their piece can take.