This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Challenges in the Institution of Peer Tutoring: Dilemmas in Student-Tutor Interaction




Rabeler, Julianna

Type of Degree



Communication and Journalism


This thesis project is an analysis of nine, 1-hour peer tutoring conversations between tutors and students at a university implemented tutoring organization. The primary framework for this study is grounded practical theory. Billig et al.’s (1988) notion of dilemmas is a secondary conceptual framework for this study. The analysis describes different situational and interactional practices that reveal ambiguous identities as a reflection of Billig et al.’s (1988) expert-equality dilemma. Analysis also shows framing practices that reflect the teaching-learning dilemma, where the intellectual ideology pertaining to collaboration between tutors and students competes with the lived (or experienced) ideology of hierarchy/authority in the educational institution, sometimes known as the “traditional” mode of education. These practices shed new light on the dilemmas as posing interesting challenges for participants. Furthermore, this study illuminates a definition of the peer tutoring situation where there is both collaboration and traditional education.