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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

SHELL Tutors Teaching Literacy Through Culture

Keanna Graff, Dixie State University

English is a difficult language to learn due to its complicated nature. However, if English learning can be guided by tutors who are trained to assist English Language Learners (ELL), the process can be simplified and meaningful. Students Helping English Language Learners (SHELL) Tutoring Program at Dixie State University is a unique tutoring program for international students. The uniqueness of the program underlies in the fact that all of the tutors are teacher education majors who are trained in the theories and methods of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Appropriate literacy instruction is the key to helping the international students be successful in academics. However, literacy instruction for international students is not just teaching them how to read and write, but to assist them to adapt to the new culture. The SHELL tutors assist the international students in various ways to become familiar with the new environment and culture. Through trial and error, the tutors understand the importance of knowing efficient and appropriate teaching strategies for the specific individual they are in touch with. Based on the rules of qualitative research, the tutors gained understanding of the importance of knowing efficient and appropriate teaching strategies for each international student they are in touch with. At the same time, the tutors find themselves negotiating their identities as a teacher. They become aware of the improvement they are making in their teaching through communications with the international students. They notice the changes in the way they see culture and the world around them. This presentation will explore SHELL tutors’ experience in teaching International Students literacy through culture.