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Title: The personal tutor and tutees' encounters of the personal tutor role: Their lived experiences
Authors: Harrington, Anjoti
Advisors: Evans, R
Price, B
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Brunel University School of Sport and Education PhD Theses
Abstract: The study investigated the relationship between personal tutor and tutee, perceptions of support encounters and their lived experiences within an undergraduate preregistration nurse education programme. The personal tutoring system plays a vital role in sustaining nurse learners by being an anchor for their professional and personal development. The tutors monitor progress, support, intervene on the tutees' behalf and act as a confidante. The need for support is especially acute in university based nurse education when the tutees face challenges in clinical practice due to the vocational and professional nature of the course they are undertaking. Yet the meaning of the personal tutoring role is often confusing and serious misunderstandings may exist between tutors and tutees. The aim of this study is to search for the meamng of personal tutoring by illuminating their lived expenences and encounters. An 'Husserlian' phenomenological approach was taken. A purposive sample of 36 tutors and 44 tutees (9 tutors and 10 tutees were from a Northern university and 27 tutors and 34 tutees from a London university) took part in the study. Each of their experiences were recorded in a 30-45 minutes open-ended taped interview. The findings were analysed by Colaizzi's (1978); Van Manen's (1990) and Cortazzi's (1993) data analysis methods. The findings revealed a wide variation of encounters on the nature of support and practice. The tutees varied in their readiness to learn, define, discuss and negotiate support. Often they lacked the powers of effective communication skills or the ability to think about their role in the process of negotiating access and support. They then found themselves experiencing a 'sink or swim' phenomenon. They reported a 'parent and child relationship' and attributed problems to a shortfall in the quality of their tutors' interpersonal interactions. Tutees reported positive encounters when they got and felt supported by their tutors. The tutors' data showed that they had an overwhelming feeling of frustration when tutees lacked study skills and presented their personal problems. Some tutors indicated a high level of empathic understanding for their tutees and showed that they would often 'go an extra mile' to support their tutees. A few other tutors offered very little support or guidance. The essences that were found to be important in the tutor-tutee relationship were: mutual trust, engagement, respect and accepting responsibilities. The study illuminated the complexity and skill required to be a tutee and a tutor. Tutors individual support styles echoed with the tutees to varying degrees. A positive experience by tutees and tutors was perceived when each had a shared understanding of the support concept. Therefore, the study has highlighted the need for greater (and arguably formal) guidance to learners on the premises of learning and personal tutor support in the Higher Education context. Conversely, it suggests that benefit might accrue from skill training in personal tutor work for nurse teachers to enable them to better understand students learning needs and skill training for tutees to enable them to be more self-aware of their learning needs., thereby ensuring a more sophisticated support relationship between both tutor and tutee.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Education
Dept of Education Theses

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