Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector

Series Achieving QTLS Second Edition
Author(s) Jonathan Tummons
Publisher Learning Matters Ltd
Published 2010
Pages 128
Price £15.00
ISBN 9781844453030
Reviewed by Mrs Lynn Boyle
University of Dundee
Review published 26 August 2010

As mentioned in recent reviews of books relating to the Lifelong Learning sector there does seem to be a plethora of titles to choose from. In this second edition of Becoming a Professional Tutor the author brings a critical perspective to the main themes a budding teacher will face. The landscape of the sector is being driven by a more financially structured top down model with tutors at the coal face having to deal with over crowing, disengaged younger learners and a wide professional remit to manage. It begs the question why anyone would want to embark on such a career? Perhaps the answer is enthusiasm, optimism, an interest in adult learning, passion for a subject or simply a vocational calling.

The book begins with clear explanations of what the reader can expect and will gain from either reading the book all the way through or simply dipping in to each themed chapter. The intention of the book is to foster debate and discussion and as an aid for new teachers in the sector as well as those about to engage on a new career. At times the book paints a bleak picture of over worked tutors with too many students in small unsuitable classrooms driven by managers who are only interested in “bums” on seats and coffers in the bank.  Some optimism or discussion around how rewarding the work can be was at times lacking and the students own reasons for embarking on this career path are not always considered.

The student will find the additional threads for websites and journals useful and relevant. The clear aims and summaries within each chapter are useful study aids and quick confirmation that when dipping into a specific chapter you are in the right place. As the writer is clearly not only theoretically but professionally knowledgeable about his topics, at times there are instances when instead of asking the student to reflect or think about questions he is quick to supply the answers. Some more opportunity for the reader to consider what being a professional means and how this may look would have been a useful task.

The book can be read all the way through with ease as is written in language that avoids or explains the jargon. As a book review rather than pointing the reader to chapter or verse it may be better to simply recommend purchasing this and using it as a worthy addition to a wider range of more specifically theoretical themed readers as part of a course or personal library.