A comparison between personal tutoring in the UK and China

Alison Raby (University of Lincoln)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

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Session Outline

The objectives of the presentation are to share findings from semi-structured interviews I completed with Chinese students and tutors at the University of Lincoln. I am currently working on a PhD entitled: An exploration of the relationships between Chinese students and their personal tutors: an IPA study. So far I have interviewed 9 Chinese students, 3 tutors of Chinese students, 1 personal tutor in a Chinese university and a member of our international office team. The questions I am exploring are:

  • How do Chinese students describe their experiences of personal tutoring in the UK (compared to China)?
  • How do students describe their experience of studying in the UK and how does the personal tutor help with this?
  • What is the experience of the personal tutoring relationship in China?
  • How can personal tutors in the UK better support Chinese students?

After completing a literature review (which I will share briefly), I concluded that due to lack of clarity around the role of the personal tutor, it would be useful to ascertain Chinese students’ views of the personal tutor role and how that may be different from their home country in terms of both functions and relationships.

It is evident from the literature that international students face a number of issues in coming to study in the UK, and therefore it would be advantageous for personal tutors to be aware of these issues and how to support students in these. As noted from the literature, students are in transition, both into UK Higher Education and throughout their stay. Personal tutors also need to be sensitive to the different stages students progress through, and be able to help them navigate the changes. It has also been noted that Chinese students in particular may be reluctant to ask for help and reveal that they are experiencing challenges. This indicates that personal tutors need to be aware that students may say that they are fine, but this may not actually be the case.

The above conclusions indicate that typically, Chinese students may not be gaining the maximum benefit from the personal tutoring relationship. This was the motivation for interviewing the Chinese students. Most of the presentation will be sharing the results from the interviews, i.e., what the students think about their experiences of personal tutoring in the UK compared to how it is done in China. I gained significant insight into personal tutoring in a Chinese university from a personal tutor in one of our partner universities, and will share this insight with the audience. Although this is only from one Chinese university, many of the students shared similar experiences of their universities in China.

The audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions and share any relevant experiences.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
I5 - The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations
R2 - Communicate in an inclusive and respectful manner