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THE UK: Student Life

Teaching in the UK


Abroad: everything is different, even the teaching-learning style.

When looking at websites where they give tips or advices to international students, you can actually find so many about accommodation, travel, culture, language, etc. They are all very helpful, but I think there is one important thing which most sites don't normally cover on, how the learning and teaching system works in that particular country!

I come from Indonesia, a country in Asia where students are expected by the teacher to sit down, look at the black/white board, listen to the teacher, and stay quiet (if possible). OK, maybe they do give us chances to raise questions, but it would normally come at the end of the session when all our minds are full and quite confused to even pick a subject to question on!

In our country, we mostly go by 'one-way' of learning and 'one-way' of teaching. Everything seems to be based on what the book says, what this scholar says...and why we should remember them. Of course you would get this type of system elsewhere, but I don't think this is the dominant style in English speaking countries... Well, at least not at high-school and of course not in college and university level.
Since coming to the UK, and previously lived in Australia, I can definitely see the differences in their teaching-learning styles compared to how they do it in my home country.

In my first days of attending classes at my college, I immediately noticed that the atmosphere in my classes felt more 'open' and 'relaxed'. We are allowed to call our teachers by their names (without Mr Mrs of Ms!) and that open discussions were actually held a lot. I noticed how the teachers tend to engage more with the whole class encouraging each of us to think and speak creatively.

But I have to admit, it was all very difficult at first as I would feel very nervous when a discussion was held and that I find myself to be one of the students who weren't participating enough...or at all. I guess I was just not used to having my own academic opinion and saying it out to others. Most of the time I would think that it is my English that's holding me back, or that I would sometimes belittle myself thinking what I think won't actually matter to the whole class.

At one class, we were focusing on the ASEAN regional system, which Indonesia is a part of. Topics were raised by the teacher to discuss the functionality of the particular system. I have had classes about it before back home and know some basics. I felt very keen to put my hand up and speak out of what I know and think - which I actually done, and it felt rather...great! I remember I got a pat at the back by a friend, and also received some smiles.

I went for it and it didn't even give me any pain I then realised that I should take the opportunity to be more active! So, if you can relate yourself to me, my advice is to not let the previous system hold you back.

Moving abroad is all about changes...and adaptation.

As students, we all move to a particular country to get better education and to be better students, right?

Best Wishes and GOOD LUCK!!

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