Personal tutoring and development: a framework for student success

Harriet Dunbar-Morris (University of Portsmouth)
Gavin Knight (University of Portsmouth)
Dave J Lochtie (Open University)
Charlotte Harrison (University of Portsmouth)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

Given the central role and relationship personal tutors have with students, they are key to ensuring students are enabled to develop their sense of belonging (Thomas, 2012), their identity and to be coached in personal development from an academic standpoint. Therefore, at the University of Portsmouth, as part of the development of a new Personal Tutoring and Development Framework, we developed an example spiral curriculum to support personal tutors to consider personal tutoring as teaching with its own curriculum.

Tutors therefore are supported with their responsibilities to:

help students develop the characteristics outlined in the Hallmarks of the Portsmouth Graduate encourage students’ professional development by engagement with course-related activities.

The personal tutor has a role to play in all 3 areas of our Framework: academic, pastoral and professional development. The pastoral element is equally critical for student success, tutors offer an initial point of contact for pastoral matters, and refer students to relevant specialist advice and support services, and follow-up support. Our premise, in developing our curriculum, was that while those personal tutors new to their role might require help with topics to cover, more experienced tutors might require help with refining content and activities to address the key themes embedded within the Framework. These themes were drawn from Lochtie et al (2018) and included for example:

  • getting to know you
  • getting connected
  • enhancing your future

In the session we will provide examples of elements of the curriculum designed to support students in developing a sense of belonging and of identity. For example we will present a toolkit called ‘value me’ (previously ‘brand me’) which has been incorporated in our curriculum. The Value Me method was developed to harness students’ reflection around their personal brand and value to a future employer, and increase employability-related self-confidence (Tymon et al, 2020). It empowers students to decide what story they want to tell about themselves, and to project that in a confident, authentic and relatable way. The method is informed by the CareerEdge model of employability (Dacre Pool & Sewell, 2007) and underpinned by elements of coaching theory and practice. It also offers a way for students to increase their identity capital and develop their employability narratives (Tomlinson, 2017).

For those considering their own personal tutoring curriculum in the session we will explain our thinking in developing our example curriculum which might be useful in participants' own developments.

In the final part of the presentation, we will locate our work in the context of further case studies from the sector and Lochtie et al 2018 in terms of:

  • personal tutoring and advising framework and curriculum
  • careers and employability
  • developing a sense of belonging among students
  • differentiating by individual student needs
  • student engagement
  • transition
  • pastoral support

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C2 - Theory relevant to academic advising and tutoring
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach
P2 - Appreciate students’ views and cultures, maintain a student-centred approach and mindset, and treat students with sensitivity and fairness