Supporting international postgraduate students in the School of Education-What do our students need?

Elina Stylianou (University of Leeds)
Ziyi Wang (University of Leeds)
Tingting Zhang (University of Leeds)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

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Session Outline

Factors of change, such as massification, marketisation and internationalisation (Calvo et al., 2020) have contributed to the diversification of postgraduate taught cohorts. International students need to adapt to a new learning environment when studying in a UK university and they encounter ‘culture shock’, ‘language shock’ and ‘academic shock’ (Carroll and Ryan, 2005). They not only need to respond to linguistic challenges but they also need to adapt to different cultural and academic conventions. University teachers therefore need to be ‘explicit’ about their expectations and assumptions with these students to facilitate their understanding of a new academic environment (Carroll and Ryan, 2005). Academic personal tutors can play a significant role in developing students’ academic and professional skills, and understanding our students’ needs is essential.

This presentation focuses on student voices; two of my tutees, who study MA TESOL Studies, at the University of Leeds, School of Education, will share their own perspectives on academic personal tuition. They will explain what they value as personal tutees and share their suggestions for fostering a good relationship between tutor and tutees. They will provide their recommendations on how a personal academic tutor can enhance students’ academic and professional skills.

This presentation also aims to provide an academic personal tutor’s recommendations to enhance students’ academic and professional skills through personal tutoring. My teaching practice involves communicating effectively with the increasing number of international students to support them with their studies and provide them with strategies to improve their academic skills, as part of academic personal tutoring. I help students in decoding the feedback they receive for their assessments in various modules, as most of them are new to British University Culture. I also encourage them to benefit from career and volunteering opportunities to enhance their professional skills.

Overall, understanding students’ perceptions is important for an academic personal tutor to facilitate students’ integration at a university setting, and support them in enhancing their academic and professional skills. This presentation has implications for the practice of the audience, including academic tutoring leads and academic personal tutors, who wish to respond to the skills development challenges encountered by large cohorts of postgraduate students. By gaining an insight into students’ voices, the audience can best inform their practice as academic personal tutors, to respond to the student needs.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality