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Tutor-student interaction in seminar teaching: Implications for professional development

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JournalActive Learning in Higher Education
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2015
DatePublished (current) - 1 Mar 2016
Issue number1
Volume17
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)63-76
Early online date26/11/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

While much of the recent academic literature into university seminar teaching has focused on collaborative learning involving student–student interaction, little research has been done into tutor–student interaction and how tutors interact with students during whole class, group-based and one-to-one teaching. In response to this finding, this exploratory study investigates the quality of tutor–student interaction in the teaching of an undergraduate and postgraduate engineering management class taught by the same tutor. A third-year undergraduate class of home students and a 1-year masters largely made up of international students were observed, video- and audio-recorded and analysed using a systematic interactive observation schedule and lesson transcripts. The analysis of the tutor–student discourse moves revealed the talk was largely lecturer-fronted with an emphasis on knowledge transmission and that there were few differences in the discourse practices of the tutor when teaching home and international students. In the light of the findings, the article argues for more research to be conducted into how tutors can be helped to engage in more dialogic interactions with their students in whole class, group-based and one-to-one interactions to ensure they are given the opportunity to engage in intellectually stimulating classroom talk and deep learning. The implications of the findings for the professional development of university tutors are also considered.

    Research areas

  • active learning, classroom discourse, dialogic teaching, higher education, professional development, tutor–student interaction

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