Development and roll-out of an Academic Tutoring program

Contributed by:
Sharp Tutor
Discussed points:
• Does focussing on academic skills deliver better welfare support?
• Views on coaching to improve tutoring.
• How do we develop best practices across Imperial?
• Is the School of Medicine approach relevant to other disciplines?
1. Development and roll out of an Academic Tutoring
programme to improve academic skills and promote
wellbeing in undergraduate medical students during the
COVID pandemic
Education Week 2021
Dr Mike Emerson, Director of Tutoring, School of Medicine
2. Medical School Context
Scientific knowledge
BSc Clinical
Clinical Skills
Professional Values and Behaviours
Phase 1 (3 Years) Phase 2 (1 Year) Phase 3 (2 Years)
• Large cohort (~360 students per year)
• Pass or fail professional qualification based on competency
• Blend of college based teaching and clinical placements in NHS from Year 1
• Students with life long passion for medicine
3. The challenge of transitioning to Medicine
• Large and broad curriculum – workload
• Need to understand and assimilate topics – difficulty
• Interactive teaching and ongoing assessment – unfamiliar
• Academic excellence in peer group – imposter
• Learning (and volunteering) in NHS - COVID
I’ve worked so hard.
I’m exhausted. I’m a
To be honest, I’ve
I failed despite straight A* student. I
never really exerted
spending 2-5 can’t believe I’ve
myself before. I didn’t
hours every day failed
revise at all for A-level
working over or GCSE. I don’t know
Christmas. how to.
Mitigating circumstances
4. From “Personal” to “Academic” Tutoring in Phase 1
• Identify welfare issues early on and signpost
• Transition from high school to higher education
• Active learning – self-testing, understand and assimilate topics
• Time management – cover curriculum appropriately
• Engage with feedback and manage expectations
• Encourage extra-curricula activities
• Transition into clinical learning
5. Study skills thinking starts early!
How much time will you spend preparing for a class?
6. Induction: Day 1 Medical School
7. Student experience of tutoring
• Compulsory termly group and 1-2-1 sessions – online this year
• Role of tutor clearly explained
• Consistent dual focus on welfare and study skills
• Students treated as adult partners in a coaching relationship
• Tutors signpost welfare services leaving time to focus on skills development
• Tutors are available and responsive but are not an “emergency service”
8. Clinical Placements in the NHS
• Unstructured experiential learning
• Patient is priority not student
• Many experiences not available
• New digital learning platforms
“in the way”
“fear of COVID” “guilty”
9. Making the Most of Your Clinical Placement
10. Academic Tutoring @ Imperial School of Medicine
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y6
Senior Tutor
Phase Head Academic Tutors
Dr Chris Harvey Dr Sandra Newton Dr Alex Comninos
Critical thinking
Transit. MBBS Hypothesis generation
Project skills
Transit. Clinical Clinical study skills
Professional mentor
Welfare and wellbeing
Efficient and effective learning
Director of Tutoring Professional development
11. Student comments about effect of Academic Tutoring 2019
“The Academic Support Programme has made me think about the way in which I study
and if this is the most efficient method of studying. I feel that it has made the prospect of
being faced with a lot of new information to learn less daunting”.
“She helped me clear my head when I was overwhelmed by work and by life. Talking
with her helped me see everything more clearly and prioritise certain things that I
needed for my personal wellbeing”.
“I am happier with my work ethic”.
“It made me think more critically about the best way to achieve my goals as I hadn’t
thought about it much before”.
“It made me realise how ineffective my revision was, how I wasted time revising the
wrong way”.
“I learnt that everyone has similar academic struggles and not to feel so worried when
I’m struggling myself, there is someone to help us”.
12. • Head Academic Tutors
Chris Harvey (Phase 1), Sandra Newton (Phase 2), Alex Comninos (Phase 3)
• Academic Tutors
• Teaching Staff and Phase Leads
Amir Sam (Head of School), Mary Morrell (Phase 1), Alison McGregor (Phase 2), Omid Halse (Phase 3)
• Evaluation Team
Ana Baptista, Kay Leedham-Green, Cristina Koppel, Sue Smith
Fran Bertolini, Penny Norris, Hannah Behague, Trish Brown
• Senior Tutors and Director of Student Support
• Coaching
• Arti Maini
• ICSMSU President, Academic and Wellbeing Reps
• The tutees! All undergraduate medical students engaging in our tutoring programme.
13. Suggested Discussion Points
• How does this compare to tutoring in other Faculties?
• Does focussing on academic skills deliver better welfare support?
• Views on coaching to improve tutoring
• How do we develop best practice across Imperial?
• Is the School of Medicine approach relevant to other disciplines?