During term time, I work as a Write Direction Academic Tutor based in the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence. I provide one-to-one study skills support for students at all levels of study and every subject area across the institution.
Roles and responsibilities
Since I started teaching in 2017, I have developed an interest in identifying and addressing educational inequalities, particularly in relation to widening participation and reducing attainment gaps in higher education.
My work as a Write Direction tutor has enabled me to pursue this work by providing me with the opportunity to work with a wide range of students, including mature students and/or from minority groups, who were disproportionately under-achieving in their studies due to a variety of factors, some of which were beyond their control (requiring change at institutional and societal levels) and others that could be addressed together in our sessions.
I created engaging learning content for all students, including personalised and generalised materials and support guides on common issues in academic practice, e.g. note-taking, essay planning, referencing, and paraphrasing. I also worked with students on tailored exercises that I designed to help them practise and improve their work in ways that suited their individual learning styles. Feedback from students attests to the effectiveness of my support and respect for individual learners and diverse learning communities.
I was also responsible for conducting research in order to support the development of the service. For example, in March 2020, I scoped out one-to-one provision in the UK higher education sector and produced a report based on my findings. This report analysed how other institutions have responded to COVID-19 and provided recommendations on what we can do here at Keele in order to support students in their transition to online learning.
I also took an active role in promoting the Write Direction service in ways that supported the development of our provision through engagement with service users, as well as other students and staff at and beyond Keele.
For instance, in January 2020, I co-organised a carousel station at the KIITE Student Education Conference: Sustaining a ‘Healthy’ Curriculum. The station was designed to promote Write Direction's role in helping students to build core skills and included an interactive activity which encouraged delegates to think about any skills they believe their students need additional support in developing. The activity not only enabled my colleagues and I to identify strengths and weaknesses in terms of the service we provide, but it also encouraged delegates to address any areas for improvement in their own teaching through the conversations we had at the carousel station and throughout the conference more generally. I produced a report on our findings and recommendations for future improvements to the service.