Experiences of a Learning Advisory Initiative : a practitioner research project in a South Auckland college
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Citation:Liu-Asomua, M. (2018). Experiences of a Learning Advisory Initiative : a practitioner research project in a South Auckland college. An unpublished research project submitted for the Degree of Master of Applied Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4543
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: What are student and teacher experiences of the learning advisory model? What recommendations can be made for the ongoing improvement of the college learning advisory model? This study set out to examine the experiences of teachers and students during the first year of their school implementing a school wide Learning Advisory model. A qualitative methodology was applied for this research project and data collection methods used. The data collection activities focused on gathering both teacher and student voice on their personal experiences and perspectives of the impact of a newly constructed learning advisory model in one school. The study focused on exploring themes and commonalities in the data and comparing the experiences and reports of the participants with practices for advisory and youth mentorships suggested in the literature. The findings indicate a variety of areas of the advisory model that have been valuable to the participants. They also identify commonalities in potential future developments and supports needed in order to both better meet the desired outcomes of the model, and to meet the identified needs of both participant groups. The findings also highlight some key challenges which should also be addressed in order to strengthen the positive impact of the model for all stakeholders. Implementing and further developing a learning advisory model is enhanced when certain considerations and focus areas are addressed and planned for. These include; using academic and pastoral data to set personalised goals and monitor and support progress towards these goals for each student. The findings indicate a variety of approaches to how academic mentoring can be offered in secondary schools. Challenges were also identified and of particular note in this study is the impact of a teacher’s skill set in their ability to effectively deliver a learning advisory model. Both teacher and student participants reported that not all teachers are currently equipped with equal skills when it comes to academic mentoring which has a significant impact on the quality of and value placed on the experiences in the advisory. These findings suggest that school leaders need to consider carefully how they will introduce, implement and run such programmes. The recommendations arising from this study have implications for schools that include: schools having good student data management systems; schools allocating adequate time to the academic mentoring programme; schools working with staff to make sure they are using practices that are responsive to student needs and contexts; having support available to professionally develop academic mentors; ensuring the mentee groups are of a manageable size; and involving staff, whanau and Māori students in the setting up and development of the academic mentoring programme.