The one-to-one tutorial is the cornerstone of our teaching at NCH. But how do they actually work? Our students tell all…
How often? – I study Law with History, which means I have three law lectures and one History lecture a week. Additionally, to these lectures you will have two ‘one-to-one’ tutorials for each of the classes per term, so eight in total. That works out as one ‘one-to-one’ tutorial each week.
What to expect? – ‘One-to-one’ tutorials are basically there to help you to revise and understand the topics covered in the lectures in more depth. For me personally, it helped a lot to interact and engage in the subject in a completely other form and level I could have ever imagined. It also gives the chance to ask any outstanding questions you had from previous lectures. It further develops your capacity to think about the subject in more depth and to actually understand and actively participate in the subject.
Does it help? – From my personal point of view, it definitely does! It is a very unique way to engage in the subject and it made my revision before the exam period so much easier.
Generally speaking at NCH during term time you’ll have one essay due a week – two on the rare occasion – which you’ll then send to your lecturer who will mark it in time for your tutorial. Tutorials are between 45 mins to an hour. You usually have four tutorials per module in your major degree subject and two in your minor – this is excluding group seminars.
A tutorial is the perfect time to flesh out those areas in the essay that need improving or discuss parts of the readings that you didn’t understand. Or maybe a particular topic piqued your interest and you would like some further reading recommendations and to discuss it in depth with your tutor! Nonetheless, these essays are extremely helpful for revision because you have up to four essays on four different topics in that module. As you can imagine this dramatically reduces the amount of reading for those topics, which allows you to focus on further readings and the other topics in the module during revision period.
Lecture notes are great too of course but essays that you have comprehensive feedback on, which contain core concepts and key ideas applied to specific questions is the way I learn best!
The better your formative essays are during the year, the more helpful they are during exam period. They were invaluable for me this year and tutorials are one of the reasons I love the teaching style at NCH.
Having your professor talk you through your work and their feedback is extremely useful as you are given the opportunity to ask further questions and clarify aspects which you may have not quite understood. These 1-2-1s will also increase your understanding and help you with your future work.
At NCH, you will receive feedback for all of your written work, summatives and formatives. The comments you receive should tell you what you did well and what you can improve on for your future work. They should be positive and constructive as well as being linked to the criteria your work was marked against. Finally, the feedback should not contain any unfamiliar information, instead it should use the language that you have been using in the seminars. In the case that the comments left from your professor do not help you improve, or you have trouble understanding them, you can use the 1-2-1s to ask for clarification.
Receiving feedback is only the first step in improving your performance, and feedback alone will not make great piece of work automatically; you must act on the feedback given to you to see real improvement.
To make the most out of your 1-2-1s it is important to first of all, show up to them. As stated before, they are a great opportunity for students to improve their essay writing ability.Thus it is very important for students to go to each one and work through their submitted pieces. It is also best to always submit your pieces on time as the professors will need time to read through, evaluate and comment on your work. If they rush through your piece or read it with you on the day of your 1-2-1 it may decrease the helpfulness their comments will bring to you as they were not able to do an in depth analysis of your arguments and method of expression.
Lastly, an open mindset will greatly improve your experience and better your performance exponentially as you begin to take on board your faculty member’s advice and begin to implement it into your own work. With each essay you write you not only practice for the end of year exams but also grow your overall essay writing skills as well as the ability to improve from criticism, all of which you will require in your later work life.
The more you practice using feedback, as you will at NCH, the better you will get at applying it and your work will show great improvement.