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Tutors should ensure that they spell out the boundaries of the Tutor-tutee relationship right at Row of four studentsthe start. This includes, for example, that you are available at particular times but not at others, the limits of confidentiality etc.

If Tutors are clear about defining boundaries from the start of the relationship, students should also be clear about what they can expect from a Tutor. To an extent, boundaries will be different for each individual tutor, reflecting their personal style, skills and circumstances, but they should also reflect the aims of the Tutorial System, University policies etc.

Managing expectations

Tutees need to be clear about what is expected of them:

  • That they must attend their Personal Tutorial meetings and that they come prepared to talk about specific issues, or with work that has been assessed and which can be reflected upon.
  • That they must take the initiative to contact their Tutor if they have a problem or need advice.

More generally, The University of Reading Student Charter outlines what staff and students can expect of each other. Further details of a student's obligations during their time at the University are set out in the Statement of learner responsibilities.

Caring with limits

It is not the role of the Tutor to try to 'solve' all of a tutee's problems.  Tutors should be guided by the principle that their primary aim is to support the tutee in their studies.

A key word here is 'support': a Tutor cannot (and should not) solve a problem for a tutee. A Tutor should be prepared to listen, offer advice, refer to other sources of help, consult with colleagues etc. but there will be times when despite a Tutor's best efforts a student will not be able to successfully address their problems and will withdraw or be required to leave following examination failure or disciplinary proceedings. This is likely to be difficult for the Tutor as well as the student. Tutors should feel that they can discuss such matters with their Senior Tutors.

Things to do now

If you require clarification or advice on a particular circumstance talk to your Senior Tutor.

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