Transfer of Learning
in the Writing Center

Bonnie Devet and Dana Lynn Driscoll, Editors

Jialei Jiang, Digital Editor

Table of Contents


Writing Centers as a Space for Transfer: Supporting Writing, Writers, and Contexts Editors Dana Lynn Driscoll and Bonnie Devet briefly describe the broad questions about transfer in the writing center and consider ways to extend conversations surrounding transfer scholarship.

Dana Lynn Driscoll and Bonnie Devet


Chapter 1. Considering the Exigency of Transfer and Its Impact on Writing Center
Meade examines the nature of transfer as a modern phenomenon within the university and argues that writing center theory and practice have often worked to undermine the barriers to transfer within the university. Seeing writing-related transfer within sociological theories of modernity makes clear that common practices of writing center work, one-with-one instruction for example, subvert the modern logics within the university that raise barriers to transfer.

Marcus Meade


Chapter 2. Motivational Scaffolding's Potential for Inviting Transfer in Writing Center
Rose and Grauman use the Mackiewicz and Thompson coding framework to illustrate moments from six sessions in which tutors used motivational strategies that seemed to encourage generative dispositions. They found that in the most productive moments, writers showed evidence of self-efficacy and self-regulation as well as active engagement in collaborative dialogue, indicating that tutors may benefit from explicit instruction in using these motivational strategies.

Kathy Rose and Jillian Grauman


Chapter 3. Strategies for Creating a Transfer-Focused Tutor Education Program Recently, scholars have begun to see the writing center as the ideal place for students to receive the kinds of prompting and guidance needed to facilitate the transfer of writing-related knowledge. Hill gives a detailed proposal for a tutor preparation course meant to teach tutors transfer theory as well as how to use concepts from genre theory to help them effectively facilitate the transfer in their tutoring sessions.

Heather N. Hill

Chapter 4. Teaching for Transfer and the Design of a Writing Center Education
In its third phase of research, the Teaching for Transfer (TFT) curriculum, researched and designed by Yancey, Robertson, and Taczak (2014), has been used effectively in various pedagogical contexts. In this chapter, Bowen and Davis consider how the TFT curriculum can be adapted for tutor education and how the particular contexts of the writing center most productively "speak back" to the design of a TFT curriculum.

Lauren Marshall Bowen and Matthew Davis


Chapter 5. Taking the High Road to Transfer: Soft Skills in the Writing Center Mattison argues that "soft skills" in the writing center are often presented as a type of "low road" transfer, an automatic practice that tutors bring in with them. However, such skills can (and should) be thought of as an example of "high road" transfer, dependent on a deliberate abstraction of a skill from one context to another.

Mike Mattison

Chapter 6. Playing Around: Tutoring for Transfer in the Writing Center Tutor training courses often focus on writing conventions, writing center theory, and writing center procedural practices, but learning theory is also an important component of tutor training. Hasting describes an activity from a tutor training course introducing learning transfer that positions tutors as learners in a game of dominoes called "42."

Candace Hastings


Chapter 7. Transfer(mation) in the Writing Center: Identifying the Transformative
Moments that Foster Transfer
Johnson draws attention to small moments of transformation in the writing center that directors and consultants can leverage to foster transfer. The author argues that transfer is not a clear-cut moment of learning and application, but a series of smaller transformations in learner, knowledge, and context that allow learners to perform in and with new contexts.

Cynthia Johnson

About the Editors

Bonnie Devet, a professor of English at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, directs the College of Chareleston Writing Lab. She also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in grammar, technical writing, freshman composition, advanced composition, the theory and practice of writing labs, and the teaching of composition. She has delivered numerous conference presentations and has published widely on the training of consultants as well as on teaching grammar, technical communication, and freshman composition. She has also recently been the recipient of the Southeastern Writing Center Association Achievement Award.

Dana Lynn Driscoll is a Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Kathleen Jones White Writing Center and teaches in the Composition and Applied Linguistics graduate program. Her scholarly interests include composition pedagogy, writing centers, writing transfer and writerly development, research methodologies, writing across the curriculum, and writing assessment. Her work has appeared in journals such as Writing Program Administration, Assessing Writing, Computers and Composition, Composition Forum, Writing Center Journal, and Teaching and Learning Inquiry. Her co-authored work with Sherry Wynn Perdue won the International Writing Center Association's 2012 Outstanding Article of the Year Award. She has served on the CCCC Executive Board, CCCC Research Impact Award Committee, and on numerous editorial boards in the field.

About the Digital Editor

Jialei Jiang is a Ph.D. candidate in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught first-year composition and research writing courses. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, feminist posthumanism, and multimodal composition. Her works have appeared in Computers and Composition, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, Postdigital Science and Education, and edited collections. She also serves as a graduate fellow for Gayle Morris Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative. She is currently working on a collaborative research project that explores how instructors across writing studies emphases design and deploy multimodal pedagogies for the purposes of social justice and advocacy.

Publication Information: Devet, Bonnie, and Dana Lynn Driscoll, editors. Transfer of Learning in the Writing Center: A WLN Digital Edited Collection. 2020,

Web Publication Date: February 15, 2020

Contact Information:

Bonnie Devet:

Dana Lynn Driscoll:

Copyright © 2020 Bonnie Devet and Dana Lynn Driscoll. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 United States License. Seven chapters, with notes, graphics, illustrations, weblinks, videos, tables, figures, and bibliographies. You may view this digital edited collection. You may print personal copies of this collection. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this digital edited collection on another Web site.

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