Harnessing the power of collaboration, co-creation and relational pedagogy to deconstruct and redesign our approach to personal tutoring.

Barbara L Silcox (Leeds Trinity University)
Lisa Gannon (Leeds Trinity University)
Kelsey Howard-Matthews (Leeds Trinity University)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

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Session Outline

Student feedback and voice mechanisms have revealed that Personal Tutoring experiences at our institution can vary as does consistency of quality, communication and support. However, high quality and effective personal tutoring provision play an important role in successful student transition, enhanced belonging and wellbeing, continuation and progression (Dobinson-Harrington, 2006). Personal Tutors are critical to ensuring positive transition and belonging nurtured though strong relationship building and value for students (Thomas, 2006) particularly during the initial year at university (Watts, T. 2011). Evidence illustrates the significance of these aspects and in the role of Personal Tutors to support student success (Thomas, 2018). Research demonstrates (Felten & Lambert 2020) how “relationships impact considerably upon students’ experiences of higher education”; thus, “meaningful connections with tutors are crucial”. Such meaningful connections should be supported through the University’s relational pedagogy principles which are core to our educational vision. Since Personal Tutoring experiences and support is inconsistent which could pose risks to student transition and success, it is integral to deconstruct and review current processes and practices. For this to occur, relationship building, transparency, and co-creation must form the basis of any review and enhancement approaches as should staff and student voices and experiences. Thus, the Centre for Learning Excellence has worked in collaboration with an Academic Coaching lead, the Students’ Union President and a critical academic friend, to establish an institutional coaching approach to personal tutoring and mandatory training together with Personal Tutoring Toolkit and interactive student-facing guidance. This will also support future applications for the Mental Health Charter.

The next stage in our review and enhancement journey, is the establishment of “PTEG” (Personal Tutoring Enhancement Group), comprised of cross-departmental stakeholders (academic, professional and students). The aims are to explore the purpose, requirements and experiences of Personal Tutoring to understand if it is fit for purpose in its current format (considering wider good practice, diversity of our students and our educational vison). The group will draw on evaluation, evidence and sector good practice to make recommendations towards enhancements and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. In conjunction with OFS’ preferred planning approach, PTEG will co-create a theory of change to ensure reflection, holistic oversight and planning, clear articulation of outcomes and robust evaluation. It is hoped this collaborative, co-created and robust approach will help navigate through the complex, nuanced and significant journey of Personal Tutoring and contribute to rethinking and transforming Personal Tutoring to meet the changing needs of our diverse student cohorts and the changing context of HE.

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
P4 - Understand the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement, and engage in on-going evaluation and development of advising and tutoring practice