Tutor professional development: A focus on classroom practices

(UCT Principal Investigator: Duncan Mhakure)

Duncan Makhure

Jacob Jaftha

Sheena Rughubar-Reddy

The Tutor Professional Development (TPD) project is a collaborative initiative between the staff of Numeracy Centre at the University of the Cape Town and the Engineering Faculty at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The purpose of the project is to design and implement a model for TPD with specific emphasis and focus on tutor classroom practices in higher education courses.

The research project is based on the assumptions that: first, TPD has an overarching goal of preparing tutors to facilitate tutorials, and second, in order to advance student achievements and throughput in higher education, facilitation, such as tutor classroom practices needs to be improved. The research team would like to develop a more universal rather than a local body of knowledge for improved tutor classroom practices. The research methodology employed in this study is design-based research (DBR) in the main. However, there are also elements of lesson study involved particularly where tutors and researchers work together to design tutorials. The TPD project will be implemented in two courses, namely, Quantitative Literacy (Numeracy Centre, University of the Cape Town) and Engineering Mathematics (Engineering Faculty, Cape Peninsula University of Technology), both of which are offered to students on extended degree programmes (EDP). The aims of the TPD project are:   

  • To research sustainable and practical approaches to tutoring higher education courses;
  • To contribute to the theoretical debates about using the cognitive apprenticeship model as a framework to TPD; 
  • To contribute to the classroom practice skills development of future academics within courses/disciplines; and  
  • To support tutors in cultivating mathematically rich learning environments for students by focussing on normative ways in which tutors engage with classroom practices.   

TPDP Partners: 

  • Numeracy Centre, University of the Cape Town:
  • Research development group (RDG): Duncan Mhakure (PI), Jacob Jaftha, & Sheena Rughubar-Reddy
  • Collaborators in Numeracy Centre: Vera Frith, Renee Rix, & Muzi Manzini.
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology: Mark Jacobs.