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Dionne Barton gives 8 ideas that can make a difference to Personal Academic Tutoring.

8 suggested ideas for Personal Academic Tutors, these support the broad aims of the Personal Academic Tutoring modules initiative.

  1. Know your students - where possible, the tutor should remain the same for the duration of the student’s registration. Tutors should have opportunities to meet students regularly.
  2. Tutoring is about being human -human interactions are fundamental to the core values of UK Higher Education. It is about the way tutors talk to students and the way they respond to them.
  3. Set boundaries and expectations - ensure that students have contact details for their tutor, including office telephone number and email address. Students should know how to contact their tutors, arrangements will vary between Schools and Departments. In the first meeting with tutees, tutors should make clear their role and responsibilities as well as the tutee’s role and responsibilities. Offer students an opportunity to meet the tutor regularly.
  4. Use group tutorials - using group tutorials for some aspects of the tutorial process can help students realise they have the same issues as well as saving time. In addition it can help promote study groups and peer support and feedback.
  5. Connect students to their peers - it is helpful for students to develop effective peer relationships. Tutors can support this by creating group-based learning opportunities and consider peer learning strategies in programmes and supporting university wider peer mentoring and peers assisted study support programmes.
  6. Know your limits - active referral means facilitating this referral properly rather than just recommending things and sending the student away to do this for themselves: often they won’t!
  7. Get support from colleagues - it can help to use a more experienced personal academic tutor to discuss issues with and to learn from. This helps tutors develop but also enables issues to be shared.
  8. Be aware of services and support for students - services around the University are not always obvious to students or how they can help so it is useful for tutors to know what is available and how they can help. In addition these services can often help tutors. For details see -

Adapted from:
McIntosh, E. and Grey, D. (2017) 10 Top Tips for Effective Personal Tutoring., July 2017

Further Reading

Laycock, M. (2009 )Personal tutoring in Higher Education – Where Now and Where Next? A literature review and recommendations. SEDA Specials 25.

Lochtie, D., McIntosh, E., Stork, A. and Walker, B. (2018) Effective Personal Tutoring in Higher Education. St Albans: Critical Publishing.

McIntosh, E. and Grey, D. (2017) 10 Top Tips for Effective Personal Tutoring., July 2017

Thomas, L. (2012) Building student engagement and belonging in Higher Education at a time of change: final report from the What Works? Student Retention and Success programme.

Thomas, L., Hill, M., Mahony, J. O., & Chambers, J. (2017) Supporting student success: strategies for institutional change Final Report.