Facilitative vs. Directive Approach

A facilitative style of consulting for the Business Portfolios involves addressing the problems within the text without taking control out of the student's hands. Such an approach is distinguished by its open-ended questions, which allows the writer to solve his/her own problems. By not handing the student the answer, independent thinking results and many similar errors can be prevented in the future.

While this approach has been highlighted and proven extremely effective for native speakers, it is not recommended the consultants adopt this approach with ESL students. Rather, a more directive approach should be instituted during consultations to avoid miscommunication on numerous levels. Directive strategies cause consultants to be what Harris and Silva call "tellers", as they impart upon the second-language students the necessary cultural, linguistic, and rhetorical information needed to complete the ECRSB Business Portfolio. Due to the fact that consultants are not expected to know the backgrounds, rhetorics, and cultures of ESL students, they can assist ESL students much more effectively by being direct in their approach. This involves making imperative statements such as "Please Explain" or helping with difficult idioms and mistranslations all to become the necessary informant for those students of a foreign tongue.

The following information was taken from Richard Straub's Concept of Control in Teacher Response, Judith Powers' Rethinking Writing Center Conferencing--Strategies for the ESL Writer, and Harris and Silva's Tutoring ESL Students: Issues and Options.

For more information on directive and facilitative commentary.

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