Ohio University

Becoming An Ally Film


Becoming an Ally: Tutoring Multilingual Writers is a series of short training films for writing center tutors created by Dr. Candace Stewart, Dr. Rachael Ryerson, and Dr. Talinn Phillips. The film is a collaborative project of the Student Writing Center and the Graduate Writing and Research Center at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

As we examined our decades of work with multilingual writers, we realized that allyship is the underlying goal of our tutoring practice. We want to come alongside writers, draw on their strengths, and then teach and support them as they work towards their goals. But what does it actually mean to be an ally? It can be difficult work and there are certainly times when we make mistakes. In these scenes we explore ways of being an ally for the multilingual writers on our own campus (who are almost exclusively international students) and some of the challenges that we face in that work. We examine the assumptions that tutors and writers may bring to the tutoring session and strategies for working through them. We struggle to avoid appropriating writers’ texts and we also explore the ways that speaking in home languages can benefit the writers we work with. And, while our focus here is on becoming allies for multilingual writers, we think you’ll find that many of the issues these scenes highlight apply to many different student populations. We also hope you'll identify more possibilities for allyship in your own work and with other populations of multilingual writers such as refugees, "Generation 1.5." and transnational students.

Note that these scenes feature real tutors from our writing centers working with real writers on their real texts. The tutors and writers are acting though. We worked carefully with our writers to identify past writing projects that could help us highlight important issues and challenges.

Becoming an Ally: Tutoring Multilingual Writers is available for viewing, free of charge, on our Vimeo page. The film is comprised of seven scenes ranging from 10-20 minutes with a total run time of 92 minutes. We encourage you to view them in order or individually according to your needs. We've also created a Discussion Guide (PDF) and a Viewing Guide (PDF) that are available for download. Transcriptions for Scene 1 (PDF)Scene 2 (PDF), and Scene 3 (PDF) are also available with others to be added as they are completed. The first scene is below with links to additional scenes after the credits.

Scene 1


Tutor Actors            Don Dudding, Sage Foote, David Johnson, Farzaneh Vahabi, Yi-Ting Wang

Writer Actors          Pin-Huei Huang, Elizarni, Niko (Quanfu) Liu, Jinyi Liu, Josephine Mwangi

Creators                  Talinn Phillips, Rachael Ryerson, Candace Stewart

Production              Carrie Love, Matt Love

Narrator                  Samuel Stinson

Make Up                 Erica Lange

Graphic Design       Andrea Swart

Collaborators          David Johnson, Becca J. R. Lachman

Sponsors                  University College, Elizabeth Sayrs, Dean; Graduate College, Joseph Shields, Dean


Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5

Scene 6

Final Thoughts