About This Webinar

Personal tutoring is key aspect of learner-centric pedagogy, and has the potential to enable HE to respond to the changing profile of its students, as a means of explicitly recognising and valuing the social and cultural capital which they bring with them, which shapes what and how they want to learn, and which can drive innovation in L&T practice and HE curricula (if we allow it to).

The commodification and marketisation of HE is often perceived as a threat to its accessibility, and the concept of ‘student as consumer’ is often perceived with suspicion at best, and at worst with open hostility. But access is not in itself inclusive, indeed can be just the opposite, and it can be argued that marketisation is only a threat if we cling to a culturally conservative belief in value-free learning, which serves only to reproduce the values of the white intelligentsia.

In contrast, the concept of ‘student as partner’ is usually viewed in a positive light, but I would argue that this concept supports a mono-cultural approach to student engagement, within which personal tutoring functions primarily to prevent, identify and address non-engagement, where engagement is understood only as a particular set of behaviours.

The development of inclusive personal tutoring, which reflects the diversity of C21st students, requires an approach which transcends the binary opposition between ‘student as partner’ and ‘student as consumer’. This involves recognising that students are active learner-consumers, already engaged in the development of their own identities, and that the co-creation of their learning experience is one of the ways they do this.

It also requires the development of personal tutoring as a means of challenging the hidden curriculum, thereby enabling universities to adapt to students’ needs (rather than, or as well as, requiring students to adapt to universities’ expectations), through the recognition of personal tutoring as a specific area of academic expertise which facilitates personalised learning (not just the provision of individualised support).

About the Presenters

Angela Partington, Kingston University

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