Reflections on Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (by Charles Anderson).

link to text here

This text focuses on the nature and quality of student experience of a tutor led discussion group. Certain parts of the text also bring my attention to tutorials being a common staple of the British higher education, so how do we make it inclusive , especially for international students.

After reading this, one of the question that I have is the role of tutors in a tutorials?  How do I enable tutorials to become active learning and encourage students to start to think critically. Perhaps, the ultimate aim for a tutorial IMO would be to encourage independence and gain confidence as you progress.

Work by Ambercrombie (1974 and 1960,p70) has set the precedence of how tutorials encourage spontaneous expressions by students  where they become a climate where all participants can listen and speak  (Nias, 1993, p117)

One of the key aspects I uncover is that In tutorials, teachers are supposed to “teach” which makes me slightly nervous. Students look upon you for expert knowledge in in the discipline of Product Design. Students prefer tutors whom are Empathetic with their problems, not someone who is too “clever” to care about students work.

Tutors inspires and constructs and build upon students problems, allowing the student to think independently.

To conclude, I really liked what Charles wrote here:

“While some students stressed the value of tutors insisting on the very clear and precise formulation of statements, including the exact use of technical terms, others commented favourably on tutors who widened out and enriched discussion, introducing new aspects to debate and encouraging a more differentiated view of topics which had surfaced in discussion.”

Reflections on the 1st Week of Self-Initiated Project (26th September)

I started to think about this small scale inquiry which can be relevant to my job i.e. teaching product design undergraduate students. There is a lot of focus on my practice and my chosen project which is a question about how tutorials can be effective.

During this session, I had a discussion with Sophie, Makbule and Josef. (Makbule and Josef has been in my same T&L module so we sort of know each other well and I also have peer-observed Josef and vice versa) Our discussion touches on the possible methods of learning, knowing yourself and your student and also how our disciplines teach students (in general) I have the largest teaching cohort and I see this as quite different from theirs.

The image above captures my research problem and how my peers contributed to the discussion. (This act of “crowdfunding” my work is very enriching and I could use these method in my teaching too!) There were comments about who/what has written texts on tutorials and YES, I did EXACTLY this prior to this session.

1.  Ziniel, Curtis E. & Ghalib, Asad K. (2016) Student-led tutorials and their implications on learning and teaching. In: Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference (2016), 4th August 2016, Durham University. 

2.  Dienes, Z. (1997) Student lead tutorials: a discussion paper. Falmer: School of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex

3.  Collier, K.G. (1983) Management of peer group learning. Syndicate methods in HE, Guildford Society for Research in Higher Education.

4. Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (Charles Anderson).

5. Topping K.J., (1996), The effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in Further and Higher Education: A typology and review of the literature Higher Education 32, 321-345

(Some of these texts are old and I have actively searched for recent ones to see if I can unpack more interesting readings.)

I see the mass intellectuality as a main issue in my pursuit of this topic. Since I do not necessary have a good research question, I have started to generate a few, which I have listed below (my comments in brackets):

1. How tutorials can inspire creative Product Design education?

2. What happens after a lecture? Answer: tutorial?

3. Why tutorials is an effective learning method?

4. Tutorials in mass education(intellectuality)?

5. Can learning be achieved through tutorials?

6. In what ways can tutorials be a way to learn in creative education?

7. Exploring methods to enable tutorials to be part of a student’s learning process.

8. How can the use of tutorials enhance the students’s learnings?

9. What is a tutor’s role in tutorials?

10. Understanding tutorials in creative education. (too broad)

The intent is to reinforce what I am thinking: about tutorials, student-centred and what Brian Eno (via our tutor) said about knowledge acquisition through Shared gENIUS (SCENIUS). The comments written in red about what effective and actionable means does make me stop and think what I want to enquire about tutorials.

My Problem Based Learning group consists of 3 students. We started to concept map our projects individually and mine looks like this below:

The mapping allows me to think about a tutor being a facilitator in a tutorial and also what it means to be inclusive in a tutorial. I understood some international students is not familiar with this learning method. On another note, I am intrigued by student-led tutorials and I have been reading more about this method.

The keywords I have used to search for articles are:

1. Peer Driven Tutorials

2. Tutorial Policy

3. Documentation in Tutorial sessions

4. Small group tutorials

5. Discussion Groups

6. Constructive tutorials