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Challenging Politeness

Challenging PolitenessRestructuring Your Speech for International Student SessionsCatherine VlahosPurdue University Calumet

How does politeness function in the writing center?

Writing centers were developed for nse**(Native speakers of English)Centered on:

Indirect speech

Suggestion

Guidance

NSE Politeness!

Sometimes, our politeness can sound like this.

A communication barrier exists because of culture, English proficiency, and other factors.

Be clear and concise 95% of international students recommended this to improve communication. But how?

Avoid Confusing phrasesI believe it would be best for you toWhat we probably want to do here is toI think it would probably be a good idea if we

- Lucie Moussu, Lets Talk! ESL Students Needs and Writing Centre Philosophy

Use commands and simple questions.Tone/inflection > grammatical politeness

- Richard Cullen, Teaching Grammar as Liberating Force (2008)

HOWEVER

ASSESS AND ADAPT:

English speaking levelVisual cuesVerbal cuesCulture

Take your timeThe second most common request is for tutors to give international students more time to think.

Awkward Silence and American PolitenessBeing sociableBuilding rapport

Silence = social skills failure

The concept of authority NSE Tutoring EFL Tutoring

International Students need more time to process your speech.They also need more time to articulate their own phrases.

Dont fill the silenceInstead of thinking out loud, try:

Let me think about this fora minute.

Im thinking about thebest way to do this.

Does that make sense?

Practice mindful speechDeliberate, thoughtful, concise: Things we all want to be, but how can we start?

My own experienceAllow yourself check-in times. While youre talking, ask yourself:

What is the purpose of me saying this? How can I simplify this message? What is my main point?

Am I rambling? Is it because Im uncomfortable? Why do I feel that way?

How quick is my speech? Should I slow down? Does the student look like they understand? Can I speed up?

Im saying ___ because ___. Where is this feeling coming from?

ReferencesCullen, R. (2008). Teaching grammar as a liberating force. Elt journal, 62(3). 221-230.Moussu, L. (2013). Lets talk! ESL students needs and writing centre philosophy. TESL canada journal, 30(2). 55-64.Nakane, I. (2006). Silence and politeness in intercultural communication in university seminars. Journal of pragmatics, (38). 1811-1835.Wang, P., & Machado, C. (2015). Meeting the needs of chinese english language learners at writing centers in america: A proposed culturally responsive model. Journal of international students, 5(2). 143-160.