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Teaching at Oxford University

Personal view of studying at oxford university with a look at the nature of the unique teaching system of Oxford University

lincoln college

Lincoln College from Radcliffe Camera Square

Most teaching is done in tutorials with College professors. Usually the tutorials are 1 or 2 students per 1 tutor. This gives a unique opportunity to discuss essays and topics with your tutor. Often the tutor can be an expert in their particular field. I was quite fortunate in having many very good tutors sometimes your reading list had books by your own tutor. This was the case with Brian Harrison who taught me British social history since 1870.

The tutorials tend to last only 1 hour and you may only have 3 per week. So you are given a reading list the week before. It is then upto you to go and read the relevant books before preparing an essay. The tutorial is an opportunity to refine your arguments and understanding rather than be taught the material. It can be hard work getting through a long reading list. The trick is to be able to find the most relevant books. I used to read the introduction and conclusion before reading anything in between. It is good to learn the art of skim reading. Often you can find most of the answer in a small part of the book. In my first year I was using some A level textbooks to get a good overall standing before reading more complex books.

The tutorials may take place in your college but equally they may take place in other colleges, especially if your subject is specialised. I always enjoyed going to other colleges, especially colleges like Corpus Christi and St Johns.

In addition to tutorials the university also provides lectures usually during the morning. The standard of lectures in PPE were particularly good. But to be honest in my first year I never went to any lectures and I don't think I missed out on anything, (although I did only just scrap through Philosophy prelims). In the 2nd and 3rd year I do remember going to more lectures but only if they were good.

Teacher at Oxford University - definition

At Oxford they prefer to call themeselves tutors. They can either be college fellows, Junior research fellows or sometimes older graduate students doing a d Phil.

See also - Lincoln College Oxford

Oxford are trying hard to widen their remit of students one scheme is the teacher - tutor programme trying to help students from inner city schools apply to Oxford

Teacher Tutor scheme

Richard Pettinger studied PPE at Lady Margaret Hall Oxford University in the 1990s graduating in 1999. He got a 2:1

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