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How to get the most out of your tutor

Lecturers, facilitators and tutors: the people who teach on your degree have a crucial role in supporting your learning.

They will be highly qualified practitioners with many years of experience and expertise in a specific field. And as such, each member of staff may have a slightly different perspective and teaching style. This might take a bit of getting used to.

As with so many aspects of your programme, becoming accustomed to new ways of learning and teaching with different people in different groups will take adjustment. But learning at uni is a partnership: you can expect an expert’s perspective in lectures, tutorials and seminars, and your tutors will expect you to listen, engage and ask questions. Your tutors are a fantastic source of information, so make sure you use them and know where to find them.

Building the confidence to ask questions may take a bit of practise. This might not be something you’ve been encouraged to do before. It’s vital that you ask questions for clarification or to further your knowledge, not only for the duration of your degree, but for your future career.  By getting to know your tutors during class discussions, you can build a supportive relationship where you feel able to speak up. Think of questions that are specific. That way you will get the most out of your own time as well as your tutor’s. You could do this either individually or during a small group class such as a tutorial or seminar. It’s likely that a well thought out question about your course content will be of great interest to other students. If you are feeling really shy, however, you could ask a question via email or a discussion board as an alternative.

Tips for maximising your time with your tutors

  • Get to know your tutors – introduce yourself in small group discussions
  • Get contact details – find out office hours, email address, etc
  • Tap into expertise – familiarise yourself with different tutors’ specialist areas
  • Be specific – think out and even practise asking focused questions
  • Speak up – actively take part in seminars and tutorials to broaden your knowledge

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This article was taken from the book ‘Getting Ready for Your Nursing’ by Dr Stephanie McKendry. She has worked in higher education for nearly ten years, spending

the last five providing learning development support to nursing and healthcare students at Glasgow Caledonian University. As well as lecturing and teaching academic skills she has researched and published on the student experience and widening participation.

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