Me and my tutor
Abingdon and Witney College’s 2015 student of the year Emily Bird and tutor Helen Brown, head of the Teaching Skills Academy and course leader and subject tutor for Level 3 Travel and Tourism, talk about the importance of a strong learning relationship.
Emily: “I didn’t expect to win the award for travel and tourism, never mind the overall student of the year award.
“Helen has been a huge part of my success at college. She has provided consistent encouragement, support and the opportunity to ask any questions. She also pushed me out of my comfort zone to achieve the best results.
“Helen always made lessons enjoyable. She is constantly positive and enthusiastic about each lesson and would always try to make lessons fun, using games to expand our knowledge and improve our coursework. These methods really worked for me as it broke up lessons, helping me to maintain my focus.
“Helen also created an assignment calendar which was very effective in helping me manage the workload, especially in the first year.
“I think it’s so important to have a good relationship with your tutor as they are the person who can do the most for you and the person you are likely to be spending the most time with. Helen’s kind, caring and approachable personality meant students had a brilliant relationship with her.”
Helen: “Years ago I watched a short TED video by the late Rita Pierson called ‘Every kid needs a champion’. The message has stayed with me: the relationships you build with students, the journey you take them on and the trust and mutual respect that is built up are the building blocks to successful learning.
“Keeping up to date with teaching practices is vital to ensure I am being the best I can be and so demonstrate and promote that ethos to my students.
“But keeping up to date is not a one-way street. I’m always learning from my students, especially their knowledge of technology. Allowing them to share their discoveries and knowledge is conducive to an excellent learning environment. It’s great for me too because it can help to save time! “It has been a privilege and honour to teach Emily and the other students within her year group.”
SIX OF THE BEST
Helen’s top tips for getting the best out of learners
1. Build rapport and relationships with the group and each individual learner.
2. Have high expectations and stretch and challenge every learner in every lesson.
3. Build resilience into your curriculum, set high standards and promote these.
4. Link what the students are learning to industry to make it relevant.
5. Accurate and timely assessment allowing for ‘study buddies’ and peer assessment.
6. Have fun!