The role of the tutor

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Kris Hughes
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The role of the tutor

Postby Kris Hughes » 02 Jan 2012, 17:14

This information may be somewhere on the board, already. If so, I apologise for adding the question again.

I understand that requesting a tutor is optional, but most people seem to find it helpful. I am hoping to either join or at least get the introductory pack soon, and I am already wondering about this. I would love to hear from those who are in the bardic course and communicating with a tutor. I expect to hear lots of positives, but if there are negatives I hope it's okay for people to speak up on this, too. However, what I'm really asking is what does the tutor do? And I'd love to hear from tutors, too, on this.

Thanks!
Kris
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Muddy Fox » 02 Jan 2012, 20:28

Hi Kris, my Bardic tutor has been very patient with me, the few times I have contacted him with nonsensical ramblings. I have come to a bit of a standstill with the course, as I have had personal issues, which I am now addressing. I will probably be full steam ahead during the next few weeks. I think the role is that of a mentor rather than a tutor. I have a tutor for my OU course and their style is more academic and formal. :)

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Explorer » 02 Jan 2012, 20:29

This information may be somewhere on the board, already. If so, I apologise for adding the question again.

I understand that requesting a tutor is optional, but most people seem to find it helpful. I am hoping to either join or at least get the introductory pack soon, and I am already wondering about this. I would love to hear from those who are in the bardic course and communicating with a tutor. I expect to hear lots of positives, but if there are negatives I hope it's okay for people to speak up on this, too. However, what I'm really asking is what does the tutor do? And I'd love to hear from tutors, too, on this.

Thanks!
Kris
Hi Kris,
A happy new year and welcome to OBOD.

The concept of 'Tutor' in OBOD is a bit cloudy and often leads to lively debate.

The experiential and personal nature of the course means that a 'tutor' is at best an advisor who can give you some advice based on their own personal and subjective views. Which is welcome for some people, but unwelcome for others (like me).

You don't 'need' a tutor for yourself, but OBOD needs you to have a tutor at some point.
A 'spiritual' course like this attracts birds of many feathers, and some of those birds should simply not attempt to fly, because that will probably lead to crash landings, with damage to themselves and others. So the most important role of a 'tutors' seems to be to filter out those who should remain firmly grounded. And this is easier to determine if members communicate with their tutors. And If you are reasonably sane, and your tutor is of reasonable intelligence, then this process should be simple and reasonably effordless.

Personally, I have not had much contact with tutors. To be honest, the entire tutor business caused me more frustration and delays than support. Not due to the individual tutors themselves, but because 'the system' isn't working. Resulting in some good and wise people becoming desillusioned, and some really crazy people passing into area's where they create havoc. And I've witnessed some quite severe crashes. In my opinion, the tutor system can use some improvement in some places.

Note to the moderator: perhaps this thread should go to the 'members only' section?
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Kris Hughes
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Kris Hughes » 02 Jan 2012, 20:48

Thanks for the two replies so far. I'm not asking to have information revealed which is only intended for members, just wondering what the tutors do....
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Selene » 02 Jan 2012, 21:39

Hi, Kris,

Here's what it says on the main OBOD website (http://www.druidry.org/modules.php?op=m ... page_id=47):
To help you on this journey you are offered a tutor or mentor who you can consult whenever you wish, by mail or email. Some members consult their tutor often - others hardly at all.
Which is basically what Explorer and Muddy Fox have told you!

Tutors are Druid graduates (i.e., they've completed all the OBOD courses), but they're more companions than teachers. Because the course is experiential, and how each individual experiences it is highly personal, a tutor can't give you the answers—but sometimes they can point the way for you to find them yourself if you feel the need for guidance. When you join OBOD you'll get more details, and there are threads in the OBOD members' section of this board that explore tutoring in greater depth than we can go into in public forums.

Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Blessings,
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby RedSky » 02 Jan 2012, 22:21

New Years Greetings.
This probably should go to the bardic board, that being said... I appreciate explorers insights :) At some point you will likely need to address a tutor in order to progress. Perhaps, the earlier the better. I chose not to but probably should have, and in fact did eventually consult with a bardic grade tutor. What a nice fellow. I regretted not meeting him earlier. The comments on the experiential process are all right on. So my advice is... if you really enjoy the course work as I did, and if you have any intention of progressing to Ovate Grade or beyond, ,you might just go ahead and request a tutor. In the Ovate Grade, I now mail my notes to my tutor after every three or 4 gwersi. And what a sweet lady she is. I enjoy getting a note or a card in response to mails. It has really added to the whole experience.

Best regards,

Redsky

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Susan Jones » 02 Jan 2012, 22:51

Hello Kris

Welcome to OBOD and 2012.

I have just been looking back over 2011 at comments OBOD members have sent to me from their experiences of corresponding with tutors on the English course during 2011. Here's a sample:
“...a patient and helpful person and I appreciated his wisdom and insights.”
“...an enormous help “
“My tutors at Bard and Ovate levels were so kind, supportive, and helpful and I appreciated their insight and guidance.”
"...excellent..."
“It was so wonderful to be able to exchange ideas throughout the past year, and she was such an inspiring companion on my journey through the Bardic Grade.”
“I enjoyed our correspondence.”
“The Bardic mentor was very good. Encouraging, tireless patience, gently and professionally challenging.”
“...absolutely amazing - I don't think you could have picked a better person for me to work with.”

OBOD provides something quite rare, which is the opportunity for a spiritual path to be a collective experience, or a solitary one or a walk with one other. For each, there's support.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby katie bridgewater » 03 Jan 2012, 00:02

For what it's worth, I think this is precisely the sort of thread that ought to be public. This kind of discussion would help making up one's mind as to what sort of organisation OBOD is, and whether to take the course. If you have to send off for something, and pay for it, without having a transparent view of how the course might work and what kind of things to expect (like what your tutor is for?) then it might well be quite a put off. OBOD is a fairly opaque organisation, and with all the hush-hush secrecy around the grades that some members exhibit, this is something that will put some people (like me) right off!

A tutor system is hardly something top-secret, and since the main product is a distance learning course, ought to be one of the things grown-up OBODies can talk about fairly openly, surely?

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby RedSky » 03 Jan 2012, 02:14

when i originally composed my reply it was skirting on elements of the bardic grade Gwersi which could possibly be spoilers. I had deleted those references and for some reason left the first line. Certainly didn't mean anything incendiary. Being fire sign though, it does occur.
I didn't initially request a tutor for several reasons. In retrospect I should have if only just for contact with nice well intentioned human beings with similar interests.

peace, Redsky

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Explorer » 03 Jan 2012, 08:37

For what it's worth, I think this is precisely the sort of thread that ought to be public. This kind of discussion would help making up one's mind as to what sort of organisation OBOD is, and whether to take the course. If you have to send off for something, and pay for it, without having a transparent view of how the course might work and what kind of things to expect (like what your tutor is for?) then it might well be quite a put off. OBOD is a fairly opaque organisation, and with all the hush-hush secrecy around the grades that some members exhibit, this is something that will put some people (like me) right off!

A tutor system is hardly something top-secret, and since the main product is a distance learning course, ought to be one of the things grown-up OBODies can talk about fairly openly, surely?
The reason why I suggested to put it in the members-only section is that it is not easy for people to critisize 'the system', especially in public. I think that it is important to have members honestly share their less happy experiences, because those experiences are the key to make improvements. And that may be easier in relative safety of the members-only section than in full view of every internet search engine.

But that was before I saw Susan's sales pitch about OBOD's totally satisfied customer responses. Most experienced members know that there is a darker backside also, with very different reactions. And I guess that when propaganda is published in public, then so should criticism, for the sake of honesty.

So I changed my mind and agree with you Katie.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Bracken » 03 Jan 2012, 12:20

Well, I haven't got figures for this so maybe it's just my outlook, but I tend to think it is a lot easier and more usual for people to complain in public than to praise. Because of that, I feel it is Susan who is providing the balance here, and I'm glad she receives letters like that. My own personal tutor experience has so far been overwhelmingly positive, by the way. May that situation continue.

As for discussing these issues, Kris Hughes, the OP, is not yet a member. I agree with Katie that people need to be able to do their research before stumping up the money. Unfortunately, often this sort of thread runs to spoilers, and I really detest spoilers. This is nothing to do with rules and regs. It's just that (and I'm sure I've said it before countless times) I love the mystery. I want the mystery. There has been a time or two when I can remember a person who should have known better hinting at what was to come and it still rankles my fur.

This organisation, OBOD 'holds' mystery for me, sometimes safely and sometimes without that guarantee. Ooh, delicious. It's a rare thing these days.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby andromeda » 03 Jan 2012, 12:29

Well, I received my information pack a couple of weeks ago and I was favourably surprised that in their leaflet that says "An Invitation" it states:

"Therefore, when you send your payment for the course, please know that if you discover within three months that your Path does not lead in this direction, you may send back the undamaged course materials, and receive a complete refund"

With that guarantee... I decided to take the plunge and ordered my OBOD bardo course yesterday

For me it all comes to a matter of expectations and I think the information pack is quite comprehensive at indicating the intentions and aims of the OBOD


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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Explorer » 03 Jan 2012, 13:08

Well, I haven't got figures for this so maybe it's just my outlook, but I tend to think it is a lot easier and more usual for people to complain in public than to praise. Because of that, I feel it is Susan who is providing the balance here, and I'm glad she receives letters like that. My own personal tutor experience has so far been overwhelmingly positive, by the way. May that situation continue.
Lets say that the different opinions balance each other then?
I'm glad that some people are happy. I have had both good and bad experiences with tutors and OBOD.

My point is that the 'tutoring system' has some room for improvement, because it pretends to be something that it isn't, which sometimes leads to problems. Not all that is hidden away is 'Mystery'.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Kris Hughes » 03 Jan 2012, 21:58

My point is that the 'tutoring system' has some room for improvement, because it pretends to be something that it isn't, which sometimes leads to problems. Not all that is hidden away is 'Mystery'.
I didn't start this thread to start trouble or bad feeling. I have belonged to a training organisation for many years (non spiritual) of which I am sometimes highly critical, yet I still think it's an excellent organisation. Some are rude in their criticism of things, which is always a shame, others consider even constructive comment to be "negative". Neither approach is very helpful.

In that spirit, Explorer, (or anybody) all I'm really asking is what the heck do the tutors do? Perhaps if you are able to share with me your perception of the claims made and your perception of the reality, I might get a little further forward. I'm not fishing for gwersi content, nor do I care if I accidentally stumble upon some during this discussion. Whether or not the course content should be a closely guarded secret might best be saved for a separate discussion.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Explorer » 04 Jan 2012, 08:28

In that spirit, Explorer, (or anybody) all I'm really asking is what the heck do the tutors do? Perhaps if you are able to share with me your perception of the claims made and your perception of the reality, I might get a little further forward. I'm not fishing for gwersi content, nor do I care if I accidentally stumble upon some during this discussion. Whether or not the course content should be a closely guarded secret might best be saved for a separate discussion.
Well, they monitor your progress, to judge if it is safe and wise for you (and us) to continue deeper into spiritual training. And they give you encouraging answers to your questions. That is what tutors do I think. (but it is second hand knowledge for me also, I am no tutor, but have some ex-tutor friends).
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Lorraine S. » 04 Jan 2012, 13:56

Hi Kris. :hiya:
I think Explorer summed it up very well.
Well, they monitor your progress, to judge if it is safe and wise for you (and us) to continue deeper into spiritual training. And they give you encouraging answers to your questions.
Can you do the course work without a tutor? Certainly. You do not "need" to have one until you decide if you want to move ahead to the next part of the course. Should you? Only you can decide that.

The OBOD tutors are mentors, companions along the journey. IMO, they can also help provide us with a sense of community, especially for someone who feels nervous and alone as s/he begins something new. Since this is such an individual journey, it is nice to know there is someone who has "been there, done that" encouraging us to take the next step and explore. After all, you never know if you don't go...right Explorer? :wink:

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Explorer » 04 Jan 2012, 14:23

After all, you never know if you don't go...right Explorer? :wink:
heh Lorraine, I can't disagree with that ofcourse :wink:

I got a pm from somebody who asked what I meant with that "it pretends to be something that it isn't".
What I meant by that is that the term 'tutor' suggests that these are 'educators'. Which is something else than the roles we've identified here.
This 'misunderstanding' can sometimes lead to false expectations on different sides.
Not a huge problem, but perhaps something to be aware of.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Philip » 04 Jan 2012, 14:38

Hi Kris,
I think it’s quite reasonable to want to know more about tutoring, so here are my thoughts after reading this thread.
There is nothing secret or ‘hidden away’ in the way that tutoring works. It goes like this: when you enrol you are invited to request a tutor. Some apply for a tutor right away, others much later on, and some never do. Those who apply are then allocated one of a team of over 50 tutors. Some make contact with their tutors right away, others much later on, and some never do. The only requirement is that at the end of the Bardic course, if you wish to continue into the Ovate Grade, you need to apply for this through your tutor.
If you do choose to be in touch with your tutor, you can write often, occasionally or infrequently about course content and your experiences in working with it. The contact is by email or letter mail and the tutor is trained to act as a mentor rather than as a teacher – a companion along the way, if you like. So to answer your question ‘What the heck do they do?’ – they reply by email/letter mail to members’ letters and see them through the OBOD grades.
Most of the time, from what we hear, the results are very positive and most students feel that the OBOD tutoring system is a valuable addition to the course. Inevitably, though, since we are talking about human beings talking to each other about spiritual and psychological experiences of a course that can be life-changing, it’s not always an easy ride, and in those cases – thankfully few - we do our best to help. One guideline we absolutely hold to is one of confidentiality. We will never discuss an individual case with anyone other than the parties involved.
I have asked Explorer to explain what he meant by the tutoring system ‘pretending to be something that it isn't’. I didn’t understand what he meant. He has clarified this to me by writing: “What I mean is that the term 'tutor' implies that it is somebody who educates. But the education is done by the gwersi and by your own experiences, not by the 'tutor'. This can be confusing and disappointing for some, because they expect more of their tutor.”
This is a really interesting example of the varying meanings a single word in English can have – and the misunderstandings that can arise. We have been using the term tutoring in the way it is used in the university system here in Britain, where your tutor meets with a small group regularly and acts as an advisor to you as you negotiate your courses. We understood that in the USA a tutor is understood to take a more didactic role and we accordingly advise students enrolling from the US that we mean the term as ‘mentor’ rather than as ‘teacher.’
We’ve looked for years for a better term than either mentor or tutor but haven’t come across one yet but we’ll certainly review the information about tutors on the OBOD website.
I’m talking above about the English course which we’ve developed over 20 years to a team of 50 tutors – it’s a bit different for other language versions of the course which are newer and smaller but growing.
Thank you for asking about this aspect of the Order’s work - of course there is always room for improvement in everything we do – we just try to do our best!
All good wishes for the New Year!
Philip

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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby DJ Droood » 04 Jan 2012, 14:41

From my experience (neither negative nor positive) they were like check-in stations...punch your card at various points to show you had reached a certain kilometer marker. And as pointed out, if you are content with your Bardic grade package and have no desire to move on, you will never need them.
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Re: The role of the tutor

Postby Merlyn » 04 Jan 2012, 18:11

A few things to consider, about tutors, needing one. (Important to note: tutoring is a very personal thing in the OBOD, and we all see this)
An open to the public message board is not a good place for very personal communication, that is why we have some privacy (non public) and grade specific forums.
From my eyes:
Best to consider the future. Think in terms of how it will be if you wait to the end of the grade to remember everything and communicate the good and bad.
Best to be a 'good study': realize that keeping notes, making record and putting forth effort is your personal choice.

As for the term tutor:
There is no real guide to "you", each person's goals or desires, failures or successes. Tutoring in the OBOD is a more like a 'positive companionship'.
Simply put. a tutor will eventually want to watch you move on. This is more accurate to the responsibility, (the tutor being your personal friend will not work well in this role.)
Think in terms of self responsibility, the goals of your own and then consider asking for help.
What most people find is many others, not just the tutor, will play a role in helping you through.
The tutor is not your teacher in the sense of the word. The spiritual journey is, and is as unique as you are.
It is important to see that a tutor is only a part of the OBOD and your journey, This is important to both tutor and tutee.

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