Student encourages studying abroad, talks teaching styles

posted in: Opinion | 0

The question I get asked the most from my friends back home is, “what is it like studying in America?”

One of the main reasons I wanted to do study abroad was to experience a different style of teaching in a new environment.

Compared to England, the teaching style of classes in the United States has its fair share of similarities and differences.

The lectures themselves are structured in pretty much the same

Although a lot of the time class

sizes here are smaller than the ones back home.

Personally, I like the smaller classes because as someone who does not really like to speak up in class, it helps build confidence if there are not a lot of people around you.

In England, for my particular courses anyway, the lectures are quite relaxed and sometimes informal which makes a big change from the stricter environment of school.

From studying here I have noticed there are not a lot of differences.

Professors are called by their first name and the class is usually broken up with in-class discussions or activities.

Without a doubt one of the major differences in class styles between the U.S. and England, is the way that courses are graded.

The biggest difference here is that there is usually a large focus on participation grades for each class.

Back home, we do not have a

participation grade.
We are marked present or absent

in every class and usually penalized if we miss around three lectures in a

But during class we are not

required to speak up and a lot of the time there is not a lot of in-class participation from students.

This was a bit of a shock when settling into campus life here and being told that quite a substantial part of our grade was being made up of how often we answered questions and joined in discussions.

For me, as someone that does not really have a lot of confidence to talk in class, this system is pretty hard to adjust to.

I now have a much better understanding why the Americans exchange students who come to my university back home are always the first to raise their hand or answer questions!

The amount of work is also very different.

In England, specifically in first year, there was not a whole lot of reading and there were mostly two assignments per course every semester.

I find the work here a lot more demanding and there is a lot more reading, but having the work broken up into smaller weekly assignments and then bigger assignments for finals and mid-terms makes it a bit easier in terms of time management.

I’m undecided over which system is better, but I’m really glad I got the opportunity to experience another system from somewhere else in the world and I’d urge anyone who gets the chance to do the same!


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