Thursday, 31 May 2012

Slaving away?

OK, students, here's a chance to boast or fess up. This is a chart from a report of students' claimed private study hours per week.

Here at The Hegemon, we assume that every hour in class should be accompanied by several hours' individual study, though of course we understand that our intake - lots of working students, parents etc - has a lot more going on than the 'traditional' student body. A few students probably get this much done, and a lot don't. Some might work regularly, some might cram sometimes. I know for a fact that many calculate what's possible - only reading texts they tend to write about, for instance. Understandable, though missing the wider educational point. I'm moderately well-educated because I read widely and make unexpected links and have a literary 'hinterland' as well as a focal point.

I can't honestly say I worked that hard as an undergraduate. I did an English degree, with education and philosophy minors. I went to all my lectures, because there were so few it would have felt rude not to (except the ones in which the lecturer handed out his text and then read from it, without deviation). It was warmer too! On the other hand, because virtually my only hobby was reading, much of what I thought was leisure was probably beneficial for work.

Certainly my academic life wasn't structured in any way. Assessment was by annual exams: my tutors wanted the occasional essay, but not very often and they had no impact on my degree. No dissertation or group work either - ideal for a fundamentally idle but enthusiastic chap such as myself. I honestly don't know how I'd have coped with the regular, significant work my students have to do.

So: how much study do you put in? Enough? Not enough? Are our expectations too high or too low?

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