Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 19, No. 2, May 2011, 219–238.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
In this article, the authors examine the degree of effectiveness in the application of the tutorial action programme at the University of Alicante.
The main intention of the tutorial project is to provide University of Alicante students with meeting spaces for students in the same degree where, guided by the tutor, they can reflect on university life, on each student’s curricular path and on their way to learn in the different disciplines.
The project was designed around the following objectives:
● Generating a collaborative compromise between the students and tutors.
● Helping to provide spaces open to dialogue and constructive criticism.
● Using flexible tutorial processes oriented to encourage the overall development of students in
its cognitive, social and emotional dimensions.
● Triggering reflection on one’s own practice, both among students and among tutors.
● Giving a boost to students’ autonomy and responsibility within the university community.
The participants were 202 tutors belonging to all University of Alicante centres: the Faculties of Letters, Law, Sciences, Education and Economics, the Higher Polytechnic School and the Nursing School.
They took part in the tutorial action implemented during the 2006–2007 academic year.
The tool used to collect the data was an open questionnaire designed by the authors and filled in by tutors at the end of the 2006– 2007 academic year.
The findings confirmed the participants’ assessment of the project’s goals, and its intention to approach a collaborative, dialogue-based culture, the use of a flexible tutoring process which sought the overall development of students and the encouragement to reflect on one’s own practice as well as students’ autonomous learning
It becomes clear that the approach to a culture based on collaboration and spaces for dialogue in the tutorial project were the objectives seen as the most developed ones.
Furthermore, the meetings with the programme coordinator generated a space which made it possible to compare resources, concerns and visions associated with the project from different perspectives.
The results demonstrated that the tutorial intervention has adapted to students in accordance with their training process, as they need different study techniques as well as different cognitive and attitudinal learning strategies depending on the degrees and on their own personality.
The tutorial spaces also generated an atmosphere where reflection was permanently encouraged.
On the one hand, tutors reflected on their own tutorial work; on the other hand, they focused on encouraging each one of their students to reflect on their own learning process.
The tutors who managed to place themselves within this model made it easier for students to reflect on their learning so that they can understand why they learn in that way and decide if that approach to learning is the one which suits best both their characteristics and those of the context.
In the authors' view, working with this tutorial model allowed them to enhance the cognitive, social and emotional capabilities of our students and, therefore, exerted a positive influence on their adaptation to the university context, as well as on their academic performance.
In conclusion, this research allowed the authors to claim that the tutorial action programme developed at the University of Alicante has a commitment to create spaces where the establishment of a high-quality emphatic communication and interaction is considered very important.