Lightning Talks

Corinne Woodfine. Carly Madden (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Elena Selezneva (Sheffield Hallam University)=
Mihaela Dariescu, Quyen Van (University of Sunderland, London)

Monday, April 3, 2023 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

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Session Outline

The significance of Graduate Attributes in supporting the development of student teacher identities within personal tutoring

Corinne Woodfine. Carly Madden (Manchester Metropolitan University)

The aim of the talk is to provide opportunities to reflect upon the significance of Graduate Attributes (GA) in supporting the development of student teacher identities, and to encourage the audience to understand how GA inform beginning teachers’ professional identity. The Manchester Met. University BA Primary Education programme reflects our full commitment to personal tutoring with a focus on understanding who we as teachers or teacher educators. Professional identities are often constructed and renegotiated around the discourse of what makes a ‘good’ teacher (Reeves, 2018). However, recent curriculum developments mean that all BA students undertake personal tutoring units that contribute to their overall academic outcomes, encouraging them to become reflective practitioners, valuing the importance of identity work and how this shapes practice. Our students explore their own experiences and how these impact on their development as a teacher. Within the second year of the programme, we embed GA and make them meaningful within the students’ shifting understanding of their teacher identity. We build on from the personal tutoring unit in Year 1, where students begin to think about and reflect on what a teacher identity might look like. We will be sharing details of teaching and learning within the Year 2/Level 5 personal tutoring unit and the recent student feedback gathered.

Research has suggested that there is a disconnect between a teacher’s personal moral decision-making and their professional actions (Mead, 2019), illustrating why HE institutions should facilitate critical examination of the impact GA can have on emerging identity and future career development. A career plan, called ‘My 5 Year Plan’ (My5YP), has been designed by the University to support students to make better decisions around their ongoing professional identity. Our students engage with the My5YP throughout each year of our 3-year BA programme and during their early career, encouraging them to think differently about themselves, their experiences and profession. Within the My5YP, students reflect upon and develop GA: collaboration, creativity, professionalism, self-motivation and social awareness. The expectation being that through developing their understanding of the GA and their significance to teaching practice, our students will have a clearer view of the type of teacher they want to become and will understand the significance of teacher identity (Hayes, 2018). We want our students to become reflective practitioners, who recognise the value of GA and the transferable skills these offer to help them to form their own teacher identity and stand out in a competitive job market.

As a take away from the presentation, we will ask the audience to reflect on how they might integrate GA within their own personal tutoring and how this may further support students beyond their studies and in their future careers.


An Evaluation of the impact of mindset interventions for level 3 computing students with recommendations for the future pedagogic practice

Elena Selezneva (Sheffield Hallam University)*=

The objective is to present the results of a research project and share some practical tools and tips on how to develop a growth mindset in students. The interventions were delivered through classroom (Study Skills) and personal tutoring sessions (Academic Advising) for 4 groups of students in the 2018-2019 academic year.

There has been a significant demographic shift in the workplace market and student landscape in academia. The current generation of students are known as “Millennials” or “Generation Y” (1982-2009). They display different traits to the previous generations of students, namely, more hedonism, narcissism, and cavalier work ethic previously unknown in the workforce or student population (Alexander & Sysko, 2013). Similar trends have been observed in Sheffield Hallam University. Some examples of reasons given by students for not attending classes are: “I had received good grades in my A level, so I know everything”. That translates in attendance rate of Year 1 Undergraduates (Y1U) of 28% on average with the trend to drop in the second part of semester (SHU, 2019-2020).

The Foundation Year (FY) student demographic is slightly different from the Y1U. Based on HESA (2019) data, FY attracts more mature and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Although, the attendance, progression and retention rates are nearly the same, FY students statistically perform much worse in the final grades and employability prospects (SHU, 2023).

To improve overall student success, we have sought for teaching and learning strategies to create long-term lasting impacts. We have found that creating a growth mindset outlook improved student attendance and performance in classes. Growth and fixed mindsets were pioneered by Carol Dweck (2012). In a nutshell, a change of the mindset can turn your student from being a “given-upper” to a successful learner.

The research presented here looked at successful strategies which helped students to transform during their studies. We developed a holistic approach to facilitate and enable development of a growth mindset in students. It starts from the development growth mindset as a competency, learning and teaching enhancements with growth mindset in mind, adjusting types of feedback, developing learner-focused goals, and embedding elements of resilience into the programme.

On admission, the groups filled in questionnaires to assess if students have fixed or growth mindsets, level of grit, and self-control. Students were offered tasks with different levels of difficulty during the teaching of study skills topics and were encouraged to take on the challenge of harder tasks. The preferences of selected difficulties were monitored. Feedback was given three times during academic year. Engagement and attendance were monitored. The resulting average attendance was 62%, twice as high as usual figures with a tendency to increase by the end of semester.


Exploring the impact of academic tutoring on student experience and academic achievement in the University of Sunderland in London

Mihaela Dariescu, Quyen Van (University of Sunderland, London)

The high level of internationalisation of the student body in the UK HE institutions, together with the increased diversity of students’ needs, demand a multi-facet student support, to enable the delivery of a high-quality academic experience. Moreover, today the institution’s ability and capacity to support its students is assessed not only throughout facilities and student support systems available, but also metrics such as retention and progression. While historically it has been accepted that there is a positive relationship between ability and achievement in HE, nowadays, the literature recognises some other drivers that positively contribute to it. Openness to experience, conscientiousness (Cahill, Bowyer & Murray, 2014), previous educational and cultural background, and other individual protected characteristics add complexity to the student achievement and progression.

Personalised support and student-centred approaches in teaching have been identified as effective ways of enhancing the prospect of students’ success. The literature (Dąbrowska & Dąbrowska, 2022; Lochtie et al., 2018) highlights that the students involved in a tutorial relationship, can develop their competences faster than in other forms of instruction since a relationship with the tutor provides numerous opportunities for developing personal, academic and professional capacities. Therefore, a wholistic approach to academic tutoring, comprising both pastoral and academic support, is essential.

Tutoring is an important part of the university teaching-learning process designed to improve student success rates and to enable students to achieve their full potential. Since December 2020, the University of Sunderland in London (UoSiL) committed to improve student experience and academic achievement through personal academic tutoring services. Considering the important numbers of both international and mature students returning to education (which expect to receive support from staff with high academic expertise), UoSiL adopted a less popular model of personal academic tutoring (PAT). The PAT role in UoSiL does not involve curriculum delivery, but the tutors are subject specialists, with strong teaching or academic background, able and available to provide pastoral and academic support tailored to individual students’ needs. Moreover, within the organisational structure, the PAT services are placed within the Academic Development Centre which also includes the English for Academic Purposes, and the Library team.

Two years later, we are looking back to explore how this initiative of personal academic tutoring based on subject specialist support contributes to student achievement and student experience. In the proposed presentation we will use academic result records, PAT records on student support, and qualitative feedback from students and lecturers to show the impacts of personal academic tutoring services on students’ academic achievement and students’ experience.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C2 - Theory relevant to academic advising and tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
C4 - Expected outcomes of academic advising and tutoring
I2 - Curriculum, degree programmes and pathways, including options
I5 - The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
R5 - Promote student understanding of the logic and purpose of the curriculum
P3 - Commit to students, colleagues, and their institutions through engagement in continuing professional development, scholarly enquiry, and the evaluation of professional practices