Whatever subject you are studying or qualification you are studying for, contact with your teacher or tutor – even when remote – is an invaluable part of that process. They are usually the subject experts, have a full understanding of the assessment process and have, more often than not, supported many other students who felt exactly the same as you do now about their learning. Whether you are confident in your subject knowledge and looking for ways to stretch yourself in order to achieve the very best results or are still a little uncertain and unsure how you might secure the grade you need, your tutors can provide you with the support you require. Here are a few simple strategies every student should try in order to boost the benefits of the contact they have.
Put simply, meet their expectations! If they provide a task, complete it. If they set a deadline, meet it. If you have a meeting, be there. Programmes of study and assessment schedules are in place to meet the needs of everyone; ensuring that there is adequate time for covering all of the content, assessing progress and providing feedback. A tutor works with many students and if you don’t adhere to the plan then you are unlikely to get the time you deserve. If there is a problem with the schedule set out for you, talk to your tutor in advance so that they can make any amendment they possibly can in order to make sure that everyone’s needs are met. If a tutor sees you are committed to your learning and doing what is required they are likely to go above and beyond in the ways in which they support you.
As already mentioned, the tutor is the subject expert. They have the knowledge of the subject but also the ways it is assessed and how to ensure you can demonstrate it when required to do so. Listen to their advice. Take notes where required. Follow their suggestions. However, if there is something you are unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask! Questioning is key to developing a deeper understanding and mastery of a subject but is also a great tool in ensuring there have been no miscommunications or misunderstandings. Your tutor will respect your ability to really engage with the content you are covering together and look for ways to address your questions in more detail.
Receiving feedback is one of the most important parts of the learning journey. However, many of us find getting feedback something that is really, really hard! Instead of thinking about what is said by your tutor as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, try to consider what you can learn from it instead. If you are given praise for a certain aspect of your work, think about what you did that made this so effective. If there are comments relating to something that hasn’t worked out so well then think about what you might do differently next time. Reflection is key to making progress. Also, apply the same thought process when it comes to your attitude to learning. If a tutor comments on this, avoid taking it personally and think of how you might use what they have said to become a more effective learner.
Don’t forget that any contact that you have with your tutor is designed to benefit YOU. If you are in need of something specific from that contact then, again, do not be afraid to ask! In reality, this involves planning and preparing for any contact you have before you have it. Make a note of any questions you have when studying independently. If you need to revisit any material with them, ask in advance. If you have found a subject area particularly easy or hard, let them know. Remember, your tutor will be looking to support you in a way that is personalised to meet your needs too, so the more effectively you’re able to communicate these, the better they will be able to do this.