Studying in The UK
To help overseas students to anticipate and address problems they may encounter while studying on a post graduate course in the UK
- To assess students’ level of familiarity with features of UK PG education
- To encourage students to predict potential difficulties
- To identify typical characteristics of PG education in the UK
- To discuss strategies and systems in place for addressing problems
- Video clip (Post-graduate Educational Practices in the UK)
- Pre-viewing activity (Worksheet 1)
- Guide sheet for viewing (Worksheet 2)
- Post-viewing discussion activity – fictional students (Worksheet 3)
1 – 1.5 hours
1. Set out session objectives and aims.
Establish that studying in the UK is probably a new situation for everyone and that, as well as felling excited about the course, all students will have some worries and might encounter unfamiliar elements in their studies here. The focus of this workshop is the differences between what the students have been used to and what will be expected of them here and how to bridge any gaps.
2. Predictive pre-viewing activity.
a. Students in small groups/pairs to think about possible areas of difference or difficulty e.g. relationship with teaching staff, type of coursework. This can be done in an informal way with the tutor monitoring groups and then building up a list of points on a whiteboard or OHP slide. It’s important not to start discussing the points in any depth at this stage – the video clip will provide many of the answers.
b. Alternatively, use Worksheet 1 to conduct a ‘know/don’t know’ activity in groups. Students fill in the sheet with brief notes to establish what they already know (or think they know – they may be wrong) and what they would like to or need to know. This activity could be used as a follow on to a. above.
3. Viewing of video clip.
Students are going to watch a video presentation highlighting characteristic features of post graduate study in the UK. This can be done as a whole group or in small groups depending on venue and equipment.
If Worksheet 1 has been used, the focus of the viewing is to confirm or not the information they entered in the ‘Know’ column and to answer their queries in the ‘Don’t Know’ column.
In any case the grid in Worksheet 2 can be used to guide viewing and aid memory for later discussion.
4. Initial feedback from viewing, anything surprising?
Give students a few minutes in groups or pairs to compare notes, was anything very different from their preconceptions?
5. Consolidation of students’ understanding.
Worksheet 3 is a collection of questions from fictional overseas students. These can be cut up so that only one question is seen at a time, students in groups answer and reassure the fictional student. The questions can then be passed on so that each group gets a chance to see all questions. Groups then elect to answer one or two questions in front of the whole group. At this stage the tutor should also offer suggestions which haven’t been mentioned.
6. Discussion of strategies for dealing with problems.
This stage should involve disseminating information about support systems in your own institution e.g. provision for English language tuition, specialist help with academic writing skills, induction into library catalogue systems etc.
It could be an opportunity to introduce key personnel to the group, to confirm arrangements for induction sessions, or to get students thinking about electing representatives to liaise with teaching and administrative staff.
Students should be shown the SDAW website and directed to the resources available there.