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Improving one-to-one tutorials – review


Title: Improving One-to-One Tutorials (2002)
Author: Muriel Green
Format: A4 booklet (46 pages) and a video (16min 18sec)
ISBN: 1853387282
Publisher: Learning and Skills Development Agency
Price: £50

Improving One-to-One Tutorials is a recent publication from LSDA, which outlines good practice and ideas for improving individual tutorials. It is informed by the findings of a survey of tutorial provision (a summary of which is included in the Appendices) and by contributions from college practitioners involved in the Raising Quality and Achievement Programme’s Tutoring Network.

The author suggests that one-to-one tutorials need to go through a number of specific stages to most benefit the learners. She identifies these stages as: preparation, setting the climate, the dialogue, setting targets, closure. Information and ideas on each of the stages in the tutorial are provided. They are interspersed with examples of activities and documents for use with students and materials for staff, produced and used by various colleges in the sector. At the end of the booklet there is a useful checklist to help colleges identify their strengths and areas for development.

This is a timely publication. FEFC and now Ofsted Inspections have revealed that although there is much good practice in the area of supporting learners and that many colleges have an infrastructure in place, there continues to be inconsistency in the quality and effectiveness of tutorial provision. Apart from some output from LSDA (e.g. Successful Tutoring) there has been limited guidance on improving tutorial support in recent years.

The ideas and examples of practical activities in this publication are particularly useful – colleges who want to improve provision would benefit from adopting or adapting many of the contributions. They are presented in a helpful format. The five-stage model is a useful way of structuring the approach to tutorials.

The accompanying video provides extracts from student reviews, which clearly show the different stages of the tutorial. It also includes comments by students and by tutors about various aspects of the tutorial process, highlighting good practice, some difficulties faced by tutors and the benefits to the student of good, structured tutorial support. These are generally interesting and provide examples of students reviewing their progress positively. A section contrasting directive and non-directive approaches might have reinforced the message. It might also have been useful to include some more difficult aspects of tutorial work such as confidentiality limits, working with reluctant or quiet learners, and referral. An on-screen number reference has been used on the video and the number sequence, which follows the five stages, is provided in the text of the booklet. This is particularly useful if group viewing is intended, with supporting written materials taken from the booklet. The length of the video is appropriate for the messages about tutorials to be conveyed adequately.

Overall this is another useful publication from LSDA that is good value at £50.

Julia Muddiman
Education and Training Consultant


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