Short course #1: Personal Tutoring: give better, more effective advice

Have you ever…

  • …wondered what to talk about in a personal tutoring session?
  • …had a student tell you a personal tutoring session hasn’t been helpful?
  • …felt like a student isn’t telling you something?
  • …been unsure about whether what you are doing with a student is actually useful?
  • …had a student refuse to cooperate with you?
  • …doubted a student’s ability to do what they need to do in order to progress?*

The Bedford Model (Bedford, 1982a & b) is a framework used in careers guidance to diagnose, assess student needs and give advice.  The FIRST framework comprises five diagnostic tools which can help you assess a student’s thinking, for example, about their dissertation, university career, how they are coping with university, problems they might be having, etc. It might be a useful way to resolve some of these ‘Have you ever…’ questions and other situations that arise in the course of personal tutoring.

Some personal tutors also express a justified anxiety about being seen as counsellors.  Using the Bedford Model, or something like it, will not (and should not) turn you into a counsellor.  What it can help you to do is set more explicit boundaries with students, provide a confident basis for making referrals when necessary and ensure the student is aware of where their responsibilities lie. The Bedford Model can also help students feel listened to and valued without the burden of another survey, feedback form or initiative.

Lesson 1-The Bedford Model

Lesson 2-Reflecting on an interaction that you wish had gone better

Lesson 3-Practicing with a case study

Lesson 4-Using the Bedford Model in an interaction with a student

Plenary: Having tried the Bedford Model – what do you think? Does it work for you? Do some parts work but not others? Did you not find it helpful at all? How will it affect how you work with personal tutees in the future? Please comment about your experiences.

Bedford, T. (1982a) Vocational Guidance Interviews: a Survey by the Careers Service Inspectorate, London: Careers Service Branch, Department of Employment. 20
Bedford, T. (1982b) Vocational Guidance Interviews Explored, London: Careers Service Branch, Department of Employment.

*Adapted from a document produced by the Association for Graduate Careers Advisory Services for their Advanced Guidance Skills course



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