Learning and Teaching
The York St John Vision for Academic Tutoring
Academic Tutoring supports students to achieve their academic and personal aspirations.
A purposeful personal relationship with their tutor enables students to become autonomous, confident, and engaged members of society. This ongoing and collaborative relationship connects students deeply to the YSJ family, supporting them through their course and beyond.
Every student will be assigned an Academic Tutor who is responsible for providing a link between the student and the university. Tutors will guide the academic progress and personal and professional development of their tutees. They will provide practical information and guidance to help students understand how the university operates and what they need to do to study successfully. The academic tutor can connect students to the full range of services offered by the University and should be the first point of contact for any student concerns or difficulties.
The Concept of Academic Tutoring
Academic Tutoring is a form of teaching and is often the only process that takes a holistic view of the student and their educational journey. Academic tutoring consists of three components – a ‘curriculum’ (what academic tutoring deals with), a pedagogy (how academic tutoring does what it does), and student learning outcomes (the result of academic tutoring).
The ‘curriculum’ of academic tutoring is concerned with the university’s mission, culture, and expectations; the meaning, value, and interrelationship of the academic curriculum and co-curriculum; ways of thinking, learning, and doing; the selection of academic programs and courses; the development of life and career goals; and university resources, policies, and procedures;
Successful academic tutoring requires a pedagogy that incorporates the preparation, facilitation, documentation, and evaluation of tutoring interactions. The relationship between tutors and students is fundamental and is characterized by mutual respect, trust, and ethical behaviour. The process should be underpinned by clear learning outcomes which articulate what students will demonstrate, know, value, and do because of their participation in the academic tutoring process.
[This exposition of the concept of academic tutoring and the diagram is adapted from the NACADA Concept of Academic Advising (https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/Concept.aspx)]
Core Competencies of an Academic Tutor
Academic tutors need to use a range of knowledge and skills to effectively guide the development and success of their students. The knowledge and skills which support academic tutoring can be broadly categorised into three components – conceptual, informational, and relational. All academic tutors should possess or seek to develop this knowledge and skillset.
The Conceptual component focuses on the ideas and theories that academic tutors must understand, and is concerned with:
- The core values of academic tutoring
- Theory relevant to academic tutoring
- Academic tutoring approaches and strategies
- Expected outcomes of academic tutoring
- How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained
The Informational component refers to the knowledge that advisors must possess to guide a York St John student. Specifically, this is concerned with knowledge of:
- The University mission, vision, values, and culture
- The academic curriculum, degree programmes and pathways, including optional modules.
- University policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.
- Legal guidelines relating to tutoring practice, including privacy regulations and confidentiality.
- The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations.
- Campus and community resources which support student success.
- Information technology applicable to academic tutoring.
The Relational components focuses on the skills that tutors need to use concepts and convey information from the Conceptual and Informational components to their students. Specifically, academic tutors must be able to:
- Create rapport with students and build academic tutoring relationships.
- Communicate in an inclusive and respectful manner.
- Plan and conduct successful tutoring interactions.
- Facilitate problem solving, decision-making, meaning-making, planning, and goal setting.
- Promote student understanding of the logic and purpose of the curriculum.
- Engage in on-going evaluation and development of their tutoring practice.
- Articulate a personal philosophy of academic tutoring.