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Empowering tutors

A presentation for the Faculty of Humanities January 2010 . Empowering tutors . The Unit For Tutor Development . Tutor training Specialized tutor training Tutor supervision – tutor “check-ins” (reports) Tutor mentorship Tutor reflection Collaboration with departments

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Empowering tutors

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  1. A presentation for the Faculty of Humanities January 2010 Empowering tutors

  2. The Unit For Tutor Development Tutor training Specialized tutor training Tutor supervision – tutor “check-ins” (reports) Tutor mentorship Tutor reflection Collaboration with departments Staff awareness of tutorship Assist in the writing of tutor policy and documents System evaluations Research

  3. Specialzed training.. • Academic strategies and language • Academic Writing strategies • Academic Reading strategies • Facilitating Discussion • Referencing techniques • Plagiarism • Writing feedback • Learning development • Study techniques • Memorization • Reading competency • Exam strategies and skills

  4. Tutor “check-in” • Tutor “check-in” takes place quarterly. • Provides opportunity for tutors to share their experiences and learn from one another. • Check-in is used as a mechanism for monitoring the tutor system and for quality assurance. • Tutor reports are used to gauge the effectiveness of the tutor system within departments. • The annual evaluation of the tutor system is imperative as it informs future practice.

  5. Tutorials function to provide… • Learning from peers • Student-centred support and development - ideal sites for collaborative learning (small group learning) • Quality learning • Building learning communities • Assistance in the identification of under-performing students • Encouragement and referral to existing academic development and other support programmes • Holistic approach to student well-being • Ideal sites for individualized mentorship Footer

  6. Benefits of the Tutor System First year Students • Feel less threatened by peer tutors and therefore concentrate better on subject matter • Gain more intense subject content clarification • Individualized instruction • Learning is more interactive, and participative • More immediate feedback and tend to take responsibility for their learning • Holistic attention

  7. Tutorials in the FYE @ UJ • Improve the quality of the student experience • First years need and relate to peers as well as the type of support peers can give • Enhance retention and graduation rate

  8. Who are our tutors? • Tutors are senior peers (postgraduates and senior students) • Goodlad (1998) suggests tutors should possess the following: • Good subject knowledge • Interpersonal skills • Communication skills • Approachable • Accessible • Sensitive to others needs • Mentors and role models Must be measured in an application and interview process Footer

  9. The role of training • There is consensus in the literature that tutor training is a necessary component in a successful peer tutoring scheme and that by simply placing two students together, one of whom has demonstrated better academic achievement, does not guarantee that effective tutoring will occur (Arkin, 1981; Bruffee, 1993; Clark, 1998; Cohen, et al.; Falchikov, 2001; Fuchs, Fuchs, Bentz, Norris & Hamlett, 1994; Goodlad, 1998; Maxwell, 1994; Topping, 1998; Whitman, 1988).

  10. Why training? • In their meta-analysis of sixty five tutoring programmes, Cohen, et al. (1982:246) found that tutoring effectiveness improves when tutors have been trained and/or tutoring is structured.

  11. Why training? • Significantly there is agreement in the literature (Arkin, 1981; Bruffee, 1993; Falchikov, 2001, Topping, 1998, Whitman, 1988) that it is not a question of whether tutors should be trained or not, but rather how they are trained that matters. • For example, Bruffee (1993: 83) maintains that sometimes training can be too prescriptive and as a result, tutors may become too “professionalized”.

  12. Why training? • Do not necessarily want to train tutors to be “faculty surrogates” (Bruffee, 1993:83) • This will detract from their purpose of being close to the student experience and peer tutors. • Hence, once one has established how one wishes to use tutors, the next step is to decide how to train them to meet that end (Bruffee, 1993:83).

  13. What constitutes training? • Universal elements which are designed to be readily implemented in actual tutorials given (Taylor, 1998:169). • Tutorial preparation, tutoring strategies, management of attitudinal problems that might be encountered, as well as managing group work (Taylor, 1998; Goodlad, 1999). • General interpersonal skills • Honing communication and presentation skills. • Initial training sessions should comprise of orientation, the programme objectives, tutoring techniques, and tutor responsibilities (Reed, 1973:16).

  14. A key area of tutor training is… • Break the mould of traditional “chalk and talk”, teacher dominant practice or “tutor as preacher” (Clark, 1988; Goodlad, 1990; Whitman, 1988) • Goodlad (1990:10) asserts that without intervention, tutors may tutor in the same prescriptive way as they themselves have been taught. • But at UJ large classes = mini-lecturers?

  15. Another key area of training is… • managing conflict tutors develop positive confrontation skills (Falchikov, 2001:170; Goodlad, 1999; Topping, 2000) • be critical of ideas and not of people, • give everyone a chance to be heard, • make sure there is time for discussion. • follow the guidelines for creating and generating rational argument • find ways to encourage students to take the other peoples’ perspectives (Falchikov, 2001:171).

  16. Is there life after training? • The notion of training tutors and then providing further development and support for them thereafter is a vital part of tutor development. • Goodlad (1999:140) emphasizes that a trainer/teacher cannot train tutors and then “let them loose, hoping for the best”. • Whitman (1988:50) explains that after the initial training, tutors may require additional support especially if they find they need help.

  17. Tutors need departmental support • Additionally, in a survey done by Whitecross and Mills (2003) of university Anthropology departments using tutors In the United Kingdom, it was found that more than 80% of tutors questioned felt that their departments should offer more support. Tutors particularly wanted feedback on their teaching skills from the academic staff. • Whitecross and Mills (2003:15) reported lack of ongoing support made tutors feel neglected and under-valued by their relative departments.

  18. How to offer ongoing support to tutors…. From the literature it is evident that there are four main ways in which tutors can be offered sustained development namely through: classroom observation critical reflection the role of the coordinator in tutor mentorship weekly meetings.

  19. Conversations with tutors • central to the classroom visits is the role of de-briefing or feedback sessions after the classroom visit has taken place (Randall, 2004:158). • the aim of the reflection session is to construct connections between the theoretical aspects of tutoring with their practical applications in the classroom. • Randall (2004:159) explains further that what essentially is taking place in feedback sessions is the Vygotskian (1978) principal of constructing knowledge through a dialogic process between a more experienced knower and a less experienced knower.

  20. It is a whole package… • The role of the tutor coordinator – open-door policy • Weekly meetings – building a tutor community • Tutor reflection

  21. Preparation for tutorials • Never go into a group intending to "play it by ear" or "answer questions". Preparation is important for a number of reasons: • It allows for the discussion and application of content. • It optimises the content coverage. • It allows for the generative creation of tasks and activities that are student centred. • It allows for the inclusion of academic skills for example, reading and writing strategies.

  22. What should be planned? Take note… • 1) Familiarise yourself with the content. This includes reading all assigned material, attending the lectures if this is expected by your department and where you miss a lecture find out what was covered. It also includes consultations with the lecturer. • 2) Design exercises that develop skills • 3) Develop novel methods of creating groups, promoting participation, presentation and releasing tension. • 4) Plan to accommodate any number of students.

  23. And more on planning… • Work with students to decide what it is they are struggling with. • Tutors can then decide what must be done to develop the skills necessary to overcome the hurdles by designing worksheets, mock tests, exam tip handouts etc. • Consult with lecturer, what is expected of you? • How much “freedom” do you have?

  24. Planning is a continuous process • Planning should be an ongoing process. After each session time should be set aside to reflect on the session. • How did your strategies and ideas work, where could you improve, what was achieved in the session etc? These things should be kept in mind when planning for your next tutorial session. This allows for continual improvement and refinement of strategies and techniques. Planning becomes a continuous process. 

  25. Establishing law and order • GROUND RULES !!!! • No cell phones or iPods are allowed in class. • The tutor and the group will be punctual. • No other work may be done during the tutorials. • All members of the group will have to prepare something.

  26. Law and order in the classroom • The class contract could include statements like: • Everyone has both the right and the obligation to participate in discussions and if called upon should try to respond. • Always listen with an open mind to others. • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a point someone has made. • Above all, avoid ridicule and try to respect the beliefs of others, even if they differ from yours.

  27. Managing diversity – some hints • Treat each student as an individual and respect each student for whom he or she is. • Rectify any language patterns or case examples that exclude or demean any groups.

  28. Unite students • Allow students to see that they are working together for a common goal that is the university degree. Differences do not need to divide students rather make them move forward together to reach this common goal.

  29. Strive to… * create an informal atmosphere * get students involved in the learning process * plan the sessions extremely well * recognise the importance of group dynamics * confront negative behavior positively * be positive and enthusiastic * be empathetic (see things from the students’ point of view) * have high but reasonable expectations * have good facilitation skills (listening, questioning and responding) * demonstrate integrity and honesty at all times * show respect to individuals and their points of view * be open to differences of opinion * be willing and ready to learn from others * rectify quickly what might go wrong * be friendly and helpful, but professional and assertive

  30. Presentation skills – Strive to.. • have a patient, professional tone of voice • maintain good eye contact, • stand or sit where all can see and hear • use occasional head nodding, • use a moderate rate of speech.

  31. Try to avoid… • constantly looking away from students • sitting far apart or turned away from students • frowning • scowling • yawning • having an unpleasant tone of voice • using a too slow or too fast rate of speech

  32. A good presenter • plans what s/he wants to say • prepares what s/he wants to say • structures what s/he wants to say practices what s/he wants to say

  33. Try to… • use understandable words • Reflect back and clarifies statements • appropriately interpret and summarise main points • use verbal reinforces (e.g. “mm-mm”, “I see..” “yes”) • call students by their first name • appropriately give information • occasionally uses humour to reduce the tension

  34. Try to.. • be non-judgmental • keep the sessions on the topic and move at the appropriate pace for the group’s abilities • maintain productivity of the session by preventing irrelevant arguing or repetition • add greater understanding to students’ statements • elicit and encourage feedback/responses from students • create open dialogue, • do not allow individuals to dominate discussions

  35. Try not to… • preach • blame • bee patronizing • make assumptions on what they already know • uses words students do not understand • strays from the topic/problem • intellectualizes • over-analyses • talks about yourself

  36. The first and most important step in organising your life is to take control of your time Time Management

  37. Time management = Self management It is: • a lifelong skill • a way of organising your day, week, month and year • an ability to differentiate between what is important and what is urgent • a skill to help you prioritise

  38. Short term goals Action Steps Time Management

  39. Pressure, pushing down on me…. Parent's demands So much work Assignments Sport activities Social life

  40. Social life Assignments Parent's demands Sport activities Time Management

  41. Try a holistic approach Take care of all the areas of your life: • physical • academic • emotional • social • spiritual • societal • leisure

  42. Stop and think about your time and how you use it. The first step is to…

  43. What is a typical student week? HOURS PER DAY: 24 HOURS PER WEEK: 168 HOURS PER YEAR: 8 736 PERSONAL TASKSHOURS • Sleep (7 hours per night) 49 • Eat (2 hours per day) 14 • Dress (1 hour per day - 7 days) 7 • Travel (1 hour per day - 6 days) 6 • Other activities (2 hours per day) 14 CLASS ATTENDANCE ???? STUDY RELAXATION AND SPARE TIME TOTAL: 168

  44. Try this… • Consider your own estimated hours per week. Obviously the way that you distribute the time available will differ from individual to individual. • How do you spend your hours per week? Thinking about it might help you to see where the gaps are…

  45. Time Wheel • On a sheet of paper, draw your own Time Wheel and indicate the slices that each activity takes up in a week.

  46. Next… • Once you have actually seen where, how and why you waste time, YOU CAN CHANGE!!!!

  47. Ask yourself… • What are my priorities? How can I get the balance in my life that I need to feel in control and productive? • Where are my studies fitting in? • How can you get in control of my academic life?

  48. Self knowledge Knowing yourself will help you with: • information about your preferred way of studying • identifying if you are a morning, afternoon or evening person? • deciding which type of study environment you prefer working in (e.g. an extremely quiet place, some soft music)

  49. Imposed on Us Interruptions Shifting priorities Phone calls Unplanned tasks Poor communication Self Inflicted Failure to delegate Negative attitude Personal disorganisation Failure to listen Socialising Inability to make wise choices Lack of self-discipline Time robbers/Time wasters


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