A bespoke approach to personal tutoring for international students

Alison Raby (University of Lincoln)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

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Session Outline

The objectives of the session are to share a project carried out at the University of Lincoln, where we introduced an Intercultural Transition Programme for our new international students, and placed these students in specialist tutor groups as part of our BGlobal programme. I will also share some literature around international students and personal tutoring, and reflect on theories of intercultural contact and how they might apply to the personal tutoring/student relationship. I will share some results from student interviews I carried out this year, following on from the presentation I gave at UKAT last year on student voice in personal tutoring. Since I did this research, I gained access to more international students, so was able to ascertain their perspective on their personal tutoring experience.

The research questions I aimed to answer from these interviews are:-

  • What do students think of their personal tutoring experience at the University of Lincoln?
  • How does the experience of international students compare with home students?
  • Is the nature of personal tutoring effective for international students?

The Intercultural Transition Programme consisted of four phases:

  • Phase 1: WeChat platform interaction for new students, staff and peer mentors.
  • Phase 2: Study skills and intercultural materials published on our VLE for students to familiarise themselves with before arrival.
  • Phase 3: On-campus workshops around intercultural competence and getting to know Lincoln, followed by an informally assessed presentation from the students.
  • Phase 4: Bespoke personal tutorials which take place 4 times during the year. The tutorials continued the intercultural themes and looked at case studies of international students in HE.

This has now been rebranded ‘BGlobal’, and involves use of peer mentors, who are existing students at the university (both home and international). The role of the peer mentors is to provide a listening ear for the students and help them navigate their way around university life.

Student feedback has been gained from these activities, and this will be shared in the presentation, in addition to what can be learnt from this and steps for the future. The key points will be around how personal tutors can best support their international students, and participants will have the chance to ask questions on this theme.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
P2 - Appreciate students’ views and cultures, maintain a student-centred approach and mindset, and treat students with sensitivity and fairness