Writing Center Journal


In face-to-face writing center tutorials, tutor praise is an action that builds rapport and motivates writers (Mackiewicz & Thompson, 2013). Drawing on and extending prior interactional analyses of praise, this article examines writers’ responses to text-based praise across 10 tutorials, with a particular focus on interactional segments in which writers reformulate their previously mentioned concerns in response to tutor praise. Unlike more common responses that signal acceptance of the praise, such as appreciation, overt acceptance, and alignment, this responding action reflects some momentary misunderstanding between tutor and writer in the tutorial interaction. Despite this, these segments also show writers taking a more active role in critically evaluating their own papers and identifying areas for revision. In addition to surveying writers’ varied responses to praise and exploring future research directions, this article also raises pedagogical implications for writing center tutoring and the one-to-one teaching of writing, specifically about how certain ways of designing and delivering praise can contribute to ambiguity and can run the risk of foreclosing or precluding opportunities for writers to articulate the kind of assistance they need with their drafts.