Building Belonging Through Group Personal Tutoring
Charlotte Crooke supervised by Ruth Payne
About the student researcher
My name is Charlotte Crooke and I am about to go into my fourth and final year of studying Psychology. I recently completed a year in industry with the Northern Gambling Service, which gave me invaluable experiences that I can carry forward into my final year and beyond. I am really pleased to be able to contribute research to the important topic of personal tutoring and belonging because I am passionate about higher education and the student experience, particularly those of under-represented students such as myself. I was the first generation in my family to go to University, meaning that my knowledge of higher education was limited prior to joining the University of Leeds. I hope that I can develop my research skills through this placement and contribute to the development of a significant part of the university experience.
This project will explore students’ experience of current group personal tutoring models at the University of Leeds, with a view to developing a model that can be rolled out across faculties. Personal tutoring remains a key point where community and belonging can develop, and this includes peer-to-peer support and communication; understanding that others are experiencing the same challenges will enhance individuals’ understanding that they are not alone. There are different models of group tutoring currently being used, where some use group sessions to convey key information to groups of students, perhaps focusing on things such as academic integrity and referencing, or how to structure an essay. Other group tutorials are subject-driven and offer an opportunity for interaction with others studying the same programmes.
The project aims to collect feedback on these different approaches to tutoring from both tutees and their tutors, as well as to explore the possibility of tutor groups being able to contact their tutor and their fellow group members during the week before they arrive in Leeds in Level 1. In particular, the project seeks to establish whether members of under-represented groups find the group tutoring experience beneficial in relation to settling in and belonging. Questions to the tutees will include an exploration of key transition points, to see if group tutoring provides helpful support to the Welcome, Induction and Transition work that is already being undertaken at Leeds.
The responses will be explored using thematic analysis. If group tutoring is seen to be successful, it is anticipated that group tutorials would run alongside one-to-one tutorials, not replace them. It is crucial to understand if there are any aspects of group tutoring that students don’t find beneficial; equally, it is important to know what is working well and if there are suggestions for additional facets of this approach. The project ultimately aims to create resources that can support group tutorials and help tutors provide an environment where tutees feel they can raise questions and seek support from both the tutor and fellow students. We hope to disseminate the findings at the Student Education Conference as well as any other platforms that are relevant.