Suggestions for what you and your students can do in tutor group meetings.
One thing that can be helpful is to become familiar with a few exercises that can be used for a range of different topics and don’t require a lot of pre-prepared materials. You may already use similar activities in your teaching:
Activity 1: Find someone who…
Students move round the room ticking off a list of categories, for example ‘someone who is taking the same outside course as you’ or ‘someone who speaks more than one language.’
This activity is good for breaking the ice and identifying what students have in common.
Activity 2: Questions and answers
Small groups of students write down as many questions as they can think of on a topic, for example “moving into honours” or “preparing for exams.”
Then ask each group to prioritise the top three questions that they want to discuss. Get the groups to swap lists and identify answers to each others’ questions.
Finally, go through their questions and answers, adding information from your own knowledge and experience. This exercise helps students to see that many of their concerns are shared and can remind them of the skills and experience they already have.
Activity 3: Graffiti
Write unfinished statements on sheets of flipchart paper and stick them up on the walls all round the room. Good questions are those that elicit a range of responses, for example “I learn best when……” or “One thing I’ve learned about exams…” or “The biggest difference between School and University is…”
Ask pairs of students to read each sheet and write up one or more responses. Then ask them to read and make comment on each others’ responses. Finally, encourage the whole group to identify what they have learned from the exercise, and offer a summary of their responses.
This exercise is good for getting people moving. It encourages students to communicate, but in a relatively unthreatening way.
Activity 4: Case studies
Provide short, lifelike case studies and ask groups to discuss the issues and suggest possible courses of action. Ask one member of each group to feed back briefly.
This exercise enables students to consider situations with a certain amount of distance and to become aware of a range of different strategies.
It’s helpful if you can contribute some ideas and provide a summing up at the end.
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