THE TEACHING STRUCTURE
Students normally take between two and four classes, from a wide range of options in the liberal arts, social sciences, business, mathematics and the sciences. Each course consists of four small-group seminar hours plus a one-on-one tutorial per week, or alternatively three tutorials per week, a schedule that ensures a high degree of personal attention for each student as well as a close appraisal of his or her work and progress.
The approach is student-centred, lively and informal, offering a high degree of personal attention and constructive appraisal of each student's work and understanding, fostering greater academic participation and involvement. Students are taught to think clearly and logically and are given careful guidance with research and writing skills. The result is an acceleration of academic maturing, giving them a competitive ‘edge' when returning to their home institutions.
|"My classes are very small and therefore very personalized. The tutors are really enthusiastic and motivated - it all makes for a great experience - and I made some wonderful friends as well."
Seminar classes, normally of one hour duration, are held four times a week for each course. These are not passive affairs where students sit and take notes in a lecture hall; they are informal and highly interactive meetings to explain and discuss class topics. Students find the environment stimulating and productive; it draws them out, encourages their active involvement and is a natural milieu for lively debate and a free exchange of ideas. Under the tutor’s guidance, course topics are presented, explained and discussed and further reading and written work is assigned to provide the basis for the personal discussions and thematic tangents that open up in the tutorials.
|"The one-to-one tutorials were great compared to my past teaching experiences."|
Students meet one-on-one with each of their tutors once a week. During this intensive one-hour session, issues that have arisen during the seminars are discussed in detail, student essays are critiqued and reading and essay topics are set for the next meeting. As with the seminars, an active involvement in the learning process and good understanding of material is encouraged.
Under the tutor’s guidance, students may explore topics and themes of particular interest to them, working at their own pace. The informal setting of the tutorial allows them to express their ideas freely and enables them to develop their confidence and skills as independent learners. Having hitherto experienced only larger classes and lecture halls, many students find that they flourish under a tutor’s undivided attention and guidance. The college, aware of the benefits of individual tuition, gives all students the option of enrolling for classes composed solely of one-on-one tutorials. This enables us to set up an individually-tailored course of instruction and provides the student with an excellent preparation for the self-motivated approach required at college or graduate level.
STAFF AND SUPERVISION
The informality of the tutorial system enables tutors to pay close attention to the progress of each of their students and to provide the support needed to deal effectively with study problems. Beyond this, and in order to ensure a healthy work-life balance and a positive environment of organised personal study, personal tutors supervise each student’s work.
Course tutors are experienced British university graduates, many from Oxford or Cambridge. They are familiar with the needs of American and other international students and are chosen for their communicative skills and sympathetic approach to difficulties encountered by their students. Tutors are experienced and proficient in the tutorial teaching method, with its emphasis on student involvement. A dedicated and inspiring team, their wide subject knowledge and academic background allows them to develop students’ thinking well beyond the mundane!
As our teaching method places a great deal of emphasis on students’ personal study and self-motivation, we ensure that careful academic support and counseling is available by assigning each student to a personal tutor. Regular meetings are held to review the progress reports generated by subject tutors, to assess whether the student is academically on track and meeting his or her goals, and to discuss individual study needs. Future educational goals and plans are also covered in these meetings. In addition to this academic overview, the personal tutor teaches a course in Written Communication Skills to all students, through a weekly seminar. The skills acquired will enhance performance in almost any subject being studied, its objectives being to enable students to put thoughts into words in an effective manner and to develop inventive thinking and writing skills.
REPORTS AND CREDITS
Tutors write an assessment of progress each half-term, offering practical suggestions on how to consolidate the work covered. Where requested, students receive a transcript at the end of the course, to be forwarded to schools or colleges for credit. If a student wishes to receive credit for courses taken, this should be made clear from the outset so that a formal request may be submitted to their home institution. Detailed course descriptions are available for each subject and we liaise as necessary with a student’s school or college to ensure that the course material and delivery fit in with specific curriculum requirements of the home institution.