Thursday, May 23, 2013

5 Weird things about the UK eduation system.

I am just done with my first year as a post-grad and things have been crazy. The hardest part about this year has been adjusting to the school system in the UK because it is so different from my Hippie College and everything else I have ever experienced. So, here is the skinny on being here in the UK.

1. You will probably not see your professors ever.
There are way fewer contact hours between students and the professors. On average, I saw my lecturers for about 3 hours per class every week. At the Hippie College I saw lecturers about 10 hours a week. In theory, students should be spending their time in library doing their own research. But there isn't much guidance in how to do your own research and their isn't an emphasis in teaching study skills. Which brings me to my second point

2. Soft skills are not taught.
Students don't really know how to take information from the lectures and transfer them to notes and then study those notes to know the information. Guidelines are vague regarding writing guidelines, and professors will often tell students conflicting things about assignments. I haven't seen a rubric for any assignments. With the exception of one class I haven't seen a class breakdown. It seems like no one is really talking in a clear or effective way

3. Communication
Getting to talk to anyone can feel like one of two things: a giant Rube Goldberg machine made of paperwork and offices that are on opposite sides of campus, or it feels like Frodo's quest to get to the ring to Mordor. Office workers are sometime surly and sometimes act as if it is a great inconvenience to answer questions.

4. "Not my problem"
This is the weirdest one I encountered. You go into an office with a question pertaining to the things the office does, and they will tell you that it is not their problem. How weird is that? Some people say that there is a culture of laziness in parts of the UK. I'm still undecided about this.

5. You will not have assignments. You will just have tests.
Most classes will will end in a test that is 70-100% of your grade. As a non-neurotypical you can see where this might be a problem.

I'm also on tumblr now, if you're interested. diaryofnnt dot tumblr dot com.
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