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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(3), 1025-1039.
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Examining first-year students' experience of being tutored: A South African case study

Mncedisi Christian Maphalala
University of Zululand, South Africa

Nhlanhla Mpofu
University of the Free State, South Africa

The inclusion of tutoring as an instructional support strategy in higher education resulted from an awareness that students lack both the metacognitive and self-regulatory practices required to complete their academic programs successfully. In addition, graduation-based funding systems have resulted in higher education institutions using tutoring as a self-serving strategy to augment learning and improve completion rates to ensure funding. Notwithstanding the theoretical and conceptual lens provided by studies reported in the current literature, there would appear to be a glaring gap in understanding of the sociocultural nuances that shape tutoring. To address this gap, the present study followed an intrinsic case study design to understand how sociocultural distinctions at a university in South Africa intersect to shape the tutoring experiences of 11 first-year students. The participants were purposefully selected, and data were collected using a focus group discussion. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic framework and, from this analysis, five themes emerged: translanguaging as a tutoring strategy, the use of technology to enhance tutoring experience, tutoring as an intersubjective process, the axiological nature of the tutorship program, reflection on the tutorship program. Based on the findings, we recommend that tutoring programs become more multilingual, structured and collaborative.
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Authors: Mncedisi Christian Maphalala is the Dean of Education at the University of Zululand in South Africa. He is also a Professor in Curriculum and Instructional Studies.
Email: maphalalam@unizulu.ac.za

Dr Nhlanhla Mpofu (corresponding author) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Language Education at the University of the Free State in South Africa.
Email: mpofun@ufs.ac.za, mpofunhlanhla@gmail.com

Please cite as: Maphalala, M. C. & Mpofu, N. (2020). Examining first-year students' experience of being tutored: A South African case study. Issues in Educational Research, 30(3), 1025-1039. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/maphalala.pdf

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