Why is personal tutoring so important?

The personal tutor is needed by all students, including those who enjoy a relatively straightforward passage through university. The existence of this system in itself reduces student anxiety. Personal tutors also provide assistance for students in need, an important aspect of this work is attention to academic work when difficulties arise.

Wheeler & Birtle, 1993.

The University recognises that an effective personal tutoring system is one element of “the highest quality student learning experience” (Learning Strategy 2016 – 2020). As a Personal Tutor, you play a pivotal role in developing your students’ sense of belonging and supporting successful transition through the programme at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. These web pages will help you adopt a proactive approach to this role and will identify strategies so that you and your tutees are prepared for personal tutoring.

The key aims of the personal tutor system align with the aims of the learning strategy

  • Improvement of student satisfaction, such as the ‘academic support’ dimension of the NSS;
  • Improving student retention and continuation;
  • Improving attainment of good degrees, graduate-level employment and/or postgraduate study.

We realise these aims by making connections:

Connecting your tutees to the university, its academic culture and its centralised services
Our students, especially new students, make transitions to and through higher education, which requires new skills and competencies. Most of these will be developed through the course of teaching, but the personal tutor has the opportunity to engage one-to-one with students which can be helpful in explaining why things are done the way they are in higher education. Furthermore, students may be unaware of support and services available to them, and the personal tutor is in a good position to identify the needs of their tutees and advise them about what is available.
Connecting your tutees personal and academic lives
Part of the personal tutor role is a recognition that our personal and academic lives are inseparable. Stresses and successes in one affect the other. A personal tutor can help identify student difficulty and excellence, and be available if students want to raise concerns.
Connecting with students
Personal tutoring means having a personal connection with students. Whilst the topics may be about academic progress rather than personal matters, the tutor recognises the student as an individual, and holistically. This connection with the student, if it is active and continued, means that the tutor can understand a student’s background, their motivations and their aspirations and help them to realise their potential.