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Making Revision Guides Using Communicative Language Teaching

Percival Guevarra, University of California, Irvine
Janella Lee-McGarraugh, University of California, Irvine


This one-hour lesson plan presents a method for collaboratively generating revision steps using student writing. The intention is for a tutor and student to generate a reference card (or another modality) using the student’s language, with the tutor assisting only as necessary. The reference card contains 3 sections: a definition of a sentence-level concern, examples of the concern, and strategies for revising the concern. This communicative language teaching method puts a focus on developing a process that promotes student agency and learning in an authentic context, which is the writing they’ve brought or generated during the session. It encourages the tutor to incorporate meaningful feedback in sessions, without the need to bring content or linguistic expertise, which allows them to develop skills with the student in their revision process.


Scaffolding feedback/approaches
Writing process
Sentence-level/lower-order/lower gravity concerns


This lesson was developed as another tactile tutoring technique for the undergraduate peer tutors to use to engage their tutees during the revision process for grammar. The lesson plan was conducted in a professional development meeting after the new peer tutors had an academic quarter’s worth of training and practice on the grammatical concerns of the student population who utilized our services. The meeting took one hour where the professional staff used the first 20 minutes to explain the activity and that the purpose of it is to create more student engagement. Then, tutors were given 30 minutes to practice the strategy in pairs. The last 10 minutes were devoted to discussing questions or concerns that came up during the practice sessions.  

This lesson plan uses communicative language teaching principles (Brandl, 2008) to inform a collaborative learning task for a tutor and student and pulls from Nunan’s (1991) procedure which involves identifying a task, providing authentic input, and developing meaningful skills. This emphasizes the student’s role, both as a writer and learner, and positions the tutor as a co-learner, rather than an instructor, which is of particular interest in sessions focused on sentence-level concerns. Several examples of this being applied to various sentence-level concerns can be found in Porter & VanDommelen’s (2005) text.  

The lesson was well-received by the tutors; they appreciated the tactile strategy and the focus to put more emphasis on student participation when grammar is brought up in sessions. Tutors learned how to shift the focus onto the student and encourage the student’s participation and critical thinking. This prevents a session from becoming fixed on the tutor generating the “correct” answer and instead promotes collaboration between the tutor and the student (Griffiths, 2023). Tutors also learned how to effectively integrate directive and non-directive feedback on grammar that engages the students to be active in revising their assignments rather than passively accepting feedback. 




Lesson Time: 1-2 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes or less
Occurrence: Session - a training designed to happen once 
Timeline: Anytime during the session
Training Type: Stand-alone training


Novice tutors

Experienced tutors

Undergraduate student tutors

Graduate student tutors

Faculty/professional tutors

In-person tutors

Synchronous online tutors

  • Student writing
  • Something to write with
  • Something to write on



Percival Guevarra, University of California, Irvine

Percival has been working in higher education around the world for more than a decade. To keep improving as an educator, he enjoys learning new skills and exploring new cultures. Most recently, he has been learning storytelling and martial arts, which stem from his interests in anime and video games.

Janella Lee-McGarraugh, University of California, Irvine 

As Writing Center Coordinator, Janella Lee-McGarraugh supports the Undergraduate Writing Peer Tutors. She has worked in numerous writing centers for over eight years, and she loves the community and camaraderie that writing centers bring to college campuses.

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