Small group classes
Participating in small group classes
During the course of your studies, you’ll be participating in small group work – mostly, this will be in the form of tutorials or “tutes”. These tutorials may be held on campus or they may be live streamed online.
Small group tutorials include both individual and collaborative work to develop and practise subject knowledge and skills. The knowledge and skills you gain from participating in small group tutorials will enhance your studies and also help you hone communication skills for future engagement in the workforce.
In order to get the most out of tutorials, you’ll need to actively participate. In this resource, you’ll consider some simple but effective strategies to enhance your active participation in tutorials.
Tips for participating effectively in tutorials View
The strategies below offer practical ways through which you can actively participate and contribute to small group tutorials and maximise your knowledge and skills. They can be applied in both on-campus and live streamed online tutorials. Having and preparing some strategies to actively participate will enhance your confidence to join in tutorials.
1. Understanding your tutorials
Tutorials are usually less formal than lectures and are highly interactive. These small group sessions play a crucial role in your study experience as they are where you can more directly interact with teaching staff and your peers in a supportive environment. For example, tutorials function to:
2. Prepare before the tutorial
Preparing for the tutorial will enhance your ability to actively contribute. To get the most out of a tutorial, you’ll need to:
3. Listen actively during the tutorial
Be an active listener during the tutorial – adopt an active listener state of mind, that is, listen with attention and concentration.
Be a content-oriented listener, listen for information and ideas being put forward by a group member – make notes on this content.
Listen for verbal cues like the use of keywords, signposts, repetitions, tone of voice, etc.
Look at non-verbal cues to support your active listening – that is, look at the speaker’s body language, gestures, visual aids, etc.
As an active listener, you can build your subject knowledge and also learn new and diverse ways of expressing and critiquing this knowledge.
4. Join in a discussion during the tutorial
There are several effective verbal strategies that you can apply to enhance your active participation in tutorial discussions. You can prepare some of these strategies before the tutorial so that you boost your participation confidence.
In a discussion you could agree or disagree with a group member, raise new points and link the discussion back to the weekly readings.
Additionally, you could paraphrase other group members (or the reading) by saying “In other words, you’re suggesting …” or “I think your point is …” .
You could ask open-ended questions: “What are some alternatives?” or “What changes to my report would you suggest?”
Of course, you could ask specific questions like “Could we agree on a definition of X?”.
Another way of participating is to mention a similar situation to the one under discussion – this could be drawn from the readings, observations and experiences. You could introduce this by saying “I found a similar article …” or “An example of this phenomenon would be …”.
5. Follow up after the tutorial
After the tutorial, it’s a good idea to revise your learning.