The benefits of good tutor-student relationships in the first year
Teacher-student relationships (TSR) are an important influence on the student experience at university. Existing research, predominantly with lecturers, highlights that these relationships have academic and affective dimensions. Studies demonstrate good TSR increase student motivation, engagement, and learning. The current study adds a student voice to this topic, focussing on their views of tutoring staff, who undertake much of the face-to-face teaching in universities. The qualitative study followed 19 students through their first year at an Australian university. The students identified four characteristics of a ‘good’ tutor: helpful, caring, likeable, and hands-on. Students talked about multiple benefits of having a good tutor including increased help-seeking, studying harder, more interest in class, and improved well-being and belonging. The importance of the tutor role is underestimated and institutions would do well to better support these valuable staff.