The Level 3 in Education and Training from Qualified Tutor I believe will take your tutoring practice to the next level, regardless of whether you have only just completed your first tutoring session or if you have tutored for a number of years.

The benefits of the qualification can be grouped into what can be gained from workshops, from the portfolio, and from the community surrounding the qualification. What this qualification goes above and beyond for compared to the previous Level 1 qualification is community, and for developing critical self-awareness and a reflective mindset.

Workshops: Workshops are a great place both to orient your understanding of tutoring, and to develop this with like-minded people who bring their own perspectives to the table. Covering safeguarding, building relationships with students, the Learning Loop, and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (alongside mental health and wellbeing), and a recorded workshop on powerful feedback, these sessions really give you the tools for the classroom, generating clear codes of best practice with the necessary flexibility for your situation and personal preferences.

The increased focus on legal requirements, the latest research in the field, and mental health are welcomed for giving an even more informed and practical understanding of tutoring, as well as the workshops now acting much more as a springboard to further learning; like we wish to develop in students, the workshops act as the framing device to independent exploration and thought.

Another new addition I like is the cheat sheets which give you a concise snapshot of the wider topic to jog your memory, and I find myself regularly referring back to them from day-to-day. Still my favourite part of the workshops though are the discussions to be had in breakout rooms – I find these discussions act as a catalyst for many new ideas, and it’s great to hear about how tutors have implemented these thoughts in the classroom or what has worked for them; I felt I absorbed so much from others’ years of experience.

And from a methodological point of view, they are great as they are fast-moving but they don’t feel like a rush – instead they are focused and dynamic sessions with clear goals, exactly what we as tutors want to achieve. Workshops are a great starting place giving you the basic toolkit to proceed, both through the qualification and in tutoring more generally.

Portfolio: The most important take-away from my portfolio work was the role self-reflection can play in personal and professional development, as well as how open questions and using your past experiences can be used as stepping stones to further improved practice in future.

The weekly questions in partnership with the workshops, alongside the more general questions after completion of the workshops gave me new perspectives on tutoring and my personal practice.

I particularly enjoyed the tutoring session assessment where you both made your own, then watched others’ sessions; the feedback provided by others and getting to see core tutoring skills in practice really helped to crystallise the content, as well as giving me new ideas on how to approach my own sessions.

The other huge benefit of the portfolio is it is manageable – I spent on average around 2 hours a week answering the written tasks, with additional time for the tutoring session and the closing reflection questions. Only needing to write 100-200 words per section forces you to be selective, to prioritise, and not to state what you already knew but what you gained. Again, this emulates a number of skills we want to develop in all learners – the ability to self-assess, to reflect, to identify what has been gained from experiences, and to continually improve.

An added bonus is a record of my learning to refer back to in daily practice! The portfolio nicely complements the workshops, providing a structured opportunity for further development which can act as a reference point beyond the qualification.

Community: The learning experience is greatly enhanced by other participants in the qualification, from their insights in workshops to the Community space to the thoughts and feedback they provide in portfolios. One of the biggest learning opportunities is how generous everyone is with their thoughts – in my portfolio, I’ve had many conversations about the role of a tutor, how to best facilitate independent learning, resources, learning opportunities, and experiences.

These interactions are what turbocharge this course in terms of learning and enjoyment, providing a variety of insights and perspectives that are memorable and powerful in practice. If you want a snapshot of just some of this collaborative aspect, make sure to join the Qualified Tutor Community for free to see the daily conversations taking place.

What is really enhanced by this Level 3 is the facilitation of these conversations, and an even more closely-knit cohort; I was pleasantly surprised at how close a cohort we became considering how everything is facilitated online!

And while I haven’t been able to make one, cohort meet-ups also take place which I hear are great places to continue these conversations face-to-face, and no doubt are very welcome in these coronavirus times.

Don’t overlook the power of community; what makes Qualified Tutor what it is comes not just from an incredibly well-planned course, but from the people who it draws in and who constructively work together to raise standards in tutoring, one conversation or scenario at a time.

What the Level 3 in Education and Training offers is a succinct, high-quality, powerful experience, moving from learning into development, discussion, and then reflection. The structure of the qualification is flexible, understanding of your time, and focused with clear goals. I would highly recommend this course wherever you are in your tutor journey – make sure to join the Community, be generous with your insights, and let’s improve tutoring for all.