First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Term of Graduation

Summer 2009

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




English language -- Study and teaching -- Oregon -- Foreign speakers, Tutors and tutoring -- Oregon, Literacy programs -- Oregon, Adult education -- Oregon, Community life -- Oregon



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vi, 146)


Literature for and about successful volunteer literacy programs highlight and advocate for practices that inform administrators and trainers of the needs and expectations of volunteer tutors. Applications of this knowledge can affect the type of policies that administrators implement in their programs and the type of support that they provide for their tutors. This project was an opportunity for the researcher to reflect on his experiences as a consultant and trainer with community-based programs and to increase his understanding of the volunteers in order to assist in future administration and training work.

Community-based volunteer literacy programs across Oregon are unique in many ways, including the communities they serve, the curricula they use, the policies they implement, and their positions in the community. A multiple case study was used to explore the volunteer tutor pools of two community-based programs. Data was collected from tutors through two formal survey instruments and formal interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded around themes related to the process of becoming tutors, tutor persistence, tutor challenges, and the impact of tutoring on volunteers. Findings were drawn from each case and were compared across cases, revealing factors that bind these programs together.

The results demonstrate that tutors across both cases enter into cultural contact zones as they engage their tutees and grow through their increased understandings about issues of importance in the Latino community and through improving their tutoring skills. Tutors enter into these programs feeling prepared and qualified from previous experiences, interests and skills related to language learning, teaching, or working across cultures. They face challenges in addressing the diverse needs of their tutees, which is compounded by the irregular attendance of their tutees that breaks the flow of small group instruction and limits the tutees' progress. When communicating about the factors that motivate them to continue, or persist, tutors cite their relationships with their tutees and having a sense of effectiveness as tutors. These tutors were encouraged by the motivation of their tutees and the sharing nature of their tutees in these contact zones.


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