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The Applicability of Tutoring

In the first of a series of QT participant-authored blogs, Daniel Dipper gives his account of how the QT course has changed his approach to tutoring …

When you think of tutoring, the first subject you think of is unlikely to be lighting.

However, I had the privilege of being a lighting tutor for 2 years in a local young people’s theatre and festival production organisation.

Completing the 4-part Tier 1 Qualification for Tutors made me much more aware of the range of skills gained through tutoring, the benefits offered by tutoring and the practical edge tutoring can have.

From my personal experience, I could not recommend this training more highly, regardless of how much experience you have, as it encourages you to critically self-reflect on your practice, it adds new methods to your toolkit, and it supports you in learning from the experience of others. So to lighting tutoring…

The universal skills of tutoring

Tutoring is about getting to know each individual, seeing where their strengths and weaknesses are and developing their all-round skill, where engagement forms the building blocks of success and where the knowledge field is so vast. The Qualified Tutor course is great for giving you these core skills and a flexible framework to work from whilst respecting the experience you already have.

The benefits of tutoring

The joy of tutoring is that you have the time to commit all your energy to your student, something that teachers are unfortunately unable to do.

Tutors can focus fully on the individual in front of them.

Tutors develop many areas of a student’s learning, from their transferrable skills in communication, to leadership, to project planning in building up a student’s confidence, to the resilience of unlocking a student’s potential.

This holistic approach can make all the difference in a student, even if it has nothing to do with the subject in question. Discussions in breakout rooms as part of the QT course encouraged me to think about how to develop this myself, and it was extremely valuable to hear what the other tutors had to bring to the table.

The practical edge of tutoring

Tutoring is a professional relationship built on trust, and involves pushing a student in maximum challenge, minimal risk scenarios. The 4-part course allowed me to dive deeper into the 7 Ps of tutoring, how to develop a professional relationship, and how to create a positive learning environment for students to thrive in.

With the organisation I tutored for being involved (before Covid-19) with countless events throughout the year, placing the student in this real-world scenario where they had to think on their feet, apply the knowledge they already had, and learn from their experiences, was invaluable.

It was also a huge investment in the student, showcasing your confidence in your student by placing them in a position where you remain the tutor but where your student becomes your colleague. The rewarding nature of tutoring was further strengthened by such experiences, and it was a pleasure to see the students develop in this way.

While it may be unique, it was still tutoring at its best, and the QT training was what made me realise just how similar it truly was to tutoring for other disciplines. The subject may be different, as with the knowledge required, but the power of tutoring and the focus on the individual student remains unchanged.

Understanding this has altered my approach as tutor. Now it’s time to spread the word …

Daniel Dipper
Daniel is a History and Politics undergraduate at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. He was a lighting tutor for two years, and has since launched Get To University, an access project to support Year 12 students applying to university. Daniel is also a Potential Plus UK Trustee, and has written blogs for both the charity and the Sutton Trust.

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