Facilitating small-group learning: A comparison of student and staff tutors' behavior
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This study focused on students' observations of student and staff tutors' behavior during two academic courses, using a thirtynine-item rating scale. The study took place within an integrated problem-based law curriculum. Six major factors in tutors' behavior were identified. Differences between student and staff tutors' performance were investigated. The results showed that student tutors were better at understanding the nature of the problems students face in attempting to master the subject-matter. Student tutors were also more interested in students' daily lives, study experiences and personalities. In addition, student tutors referred to end-of-course examinations more frequently than staff tutors to direct student learning. Alternatively, staff tutors used their subject-matter expertise more often and displayed more authoritarian behavior than student tutors. No differences were found with respect to tutors' focus on cooperation among group members. The results are interpreted in terms of the nature of the knowledge and experiences of students and staff with regard to problem-based learning and its requirements.
- student tutors
- staff tutors