Learning to teach and teaching to learn: A small-group tutorial model enhances postgraduate tutors’ and tutees’ academic experience

Rebecca Strawbridge, Anna Mountford-Zimdars, Cathy Fernandes, Stefania Tognin, Katerina Koutsantoni, Carolyn Hodgman, Brenda P Williams, Eugenia Kravariti, Meera Komarraju, Susan J Lea, Jenny Yiend

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Abstract

There is a lack of feasible, standardized approaches to enhance postgraduate academic experience using active learning in current resource-constrained higher education (HE). We developed and implemented a novel peer-based small-group tutorial model derived from separate strands of pedagogical theory and evidence.

Designed to be mutually beneficial, the model was tested through delivery of 5-6 hourly sessions to tutorial groups comprising postgraduate taught student tutees (n = 101) and postgraduate research tutors (n = 24; senior peers) from a psychology faculty of a UK Russell Group university. Mixed-methods pre-post assessments included bespoke and standardized questionnaires plus thematic analysis of written feedback.

Benefits were reported by both tutors and tutees, including increased motivation and knowledge, praise of the flexible and interactive environment. Tutees experienced general and specific learning improvements, while tutors’ confidence and enjoyment in teaching increased.

Our validation of a clearly-articulated model for effective senior/junior-peer tutorial delivery progresses knowledge of small-group learning and may enhance academic experiences for our learners and future teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100153
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Volume3
Early online date15 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2022

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