Train the Tutors, or Reinvent the Tutorial? A Critical Action Research Framework Examining a Tutor Review Process

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This paper focuses on a particular teaching and learning initiative, a tutor review process, as a way of enhancing the tutorial (small group) learning experience. The initial intention had been to focus on the tutors’ skills as small group facilitators to improve the tutorial experience and environment. The action research methodology altered the intended process in so far as changing the focus from a sometime fairly technical or ‘interpretive’ understanding to a ‘critical’ approach. Instead of simply focusing on tutors’ facilitation skills, there was a shift to include a consciousness and engagement of a variety of underlying issues in the tutorial that could potentially impact on the learning process. The context of the review process is the Academic Development (AD) Programme (Education Development Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa). The programme is an equity programme focused on attracting students who have experienced gaps in their education and life experiences. The focus is on providing a variety of support and adding value, enhancing a broad and comprehensive range of academic experiences and a variety of skills. The tutorial system is an integral part of AD and is designed to give a small group learning experience to students who attend lectures with several hundred students.

Keywords: Academic Development, Tutor Review, Critical Action Research
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Assoc. Prof. June Pym

Director, Education Development Unit (Commerce), University of Cape Town
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Dr June Pym taught and was vice-principal of a school in Athlone, Cape Town for 19 years. She was an educational publisher for 5 years, before coordinating the Commerce Academic Development Programme at UCT since 2000. She was appointed Director of the Education Development Unit (Commerce) in 2007. Her particular interests relate to educational change, grappling with issues that impact on the the teaching and learning environment and the exploration of varying teaching pedagogies.

Carla Fourie

Lecturer, Academic Development Financial Accounting
Education Development Unit (Commerce), University of Cape Town

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Carla Fourie has senior school and tertiary teaching experience. She has taught Financial Acounting to first year Academic Development students at the University of Cape Town, SA for eight years. Her particular interests and passion lies in exploring a variety of teaching structures and pedagogies. Her students who generally are not accepted in the 'mainstream', have consistently 'outperformed' the mainstream results.

Ref: L09P0866