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Educational Practices Abroad


The HE system in Greece is currently undergoing wide ranging reforms as a result of legislation passed in 2007 as part of the Bologna agreement. The changes have caused considerable unease and are the subject of much discussion in the press and media.

A fuller picture of the undergraduate experience in Greece can be found in the Greece report and in the Greece presentation

Having said this, a small proportion of Greek students are involved in research projects with tutors in smaller institutions which requires them to engage with a wider range of sources and at a higher level. These students are likely to have excellent skills for independent learning. The key is not to make assumptions.

This is a picture of the results of a particular piece of research in selected parts of a large country. However, it suggests important implications for how we teach international postgraduate students. The limited time available on Masters programmes particularly to help international students develop appropriate academic abilities and attitudes suggests that programmes need to be carefully designed with the needs of these students in mind.

What follows is a list of questions which can act as a checklist for auditing existing programmes or in planning new provision:

  1. What assumptions about academic skills are built into this programme?
    • Students are used to gaining information from reading from textbooks, journals, academic texts, professional journalism
    • Students have the skills to evaluate the quality of arguments and evidence in the materials they read
    • At a conceptual level students understand the conventions of academic debate and argument, and how their own essays and dissertations need to conform to those conventions
    • At a practical level, students understand how to read academic writing, using contents pages, indexes, and discrimination in selection of text
    • Students are clear about what they can expect and not expect from the academics who teach them
  2. Are opportunities to develop the above skills and knowledge built incrementally into the design of the overall programme and/or of courses within it?
  3. Are resources and facilities (eg a student study support centre) available to assist students in developing these areas?

Are there opportunities for students from different cultures to contribute their knowledge and experience to the programme, rather than being viewed only as problematic and exceptional?


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