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Author Topic: Difficulty in seminars  (Read 2743 times)
eaptutor1
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« on: October 14, 2010, 12:18:20 PM »

What is the most difficult thing for you about taking part in seminars?
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faisal
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 03:08:10 PM »

I get confused in seminars......
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Ziko
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2010, 03:21:13 PM »

sometime's i can't understand the teacher what he talking about ???
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Miku
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2010, 03:24:28 PM »

I don't know what is the 'efficient' way to participate in a seminar group.
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eaptutor1
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 08:24:14 PM »

I think knowing when to speak, knowing when to listen and (importantly) when to ask for clarification (if you don't understand0 are all really important in seminars. And efficient, if you then get an explanation you do understand.

Oh, and preparing for seminars properly by reading the texts is crucial!

I wonder... ???

Do people sometimes feel too nervous to say they don't understand? Or don't know what expressions to use to ask for further help/explanation?

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Martin Barge
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 10:23:20 PM »

Hello,

Yes, seminars! When I was an undergraduate I sometimes used to feel afraid to speak in seminars. I sometimes found it difficult to follow the arguments that were being made in the seminar (especially when I studied Philosophy!!). And, of course, when you believe everyone else understands the discussions, you begin to think you're the only one who doesn't understand, and so you sit there quietly feeling stupid :(.

But you can also be quite wise in seminars. You can sit and listen carefully to what everyone else is saying. Try observing the others who speak - how many of the group speak the most? You may find that just one or two dominant or confident individuals do most of the talking. So just listen and think about what they say. Then, when you get an opportunity, you can say something like, "I thought Gina's point about inflation was very interesting." or "I agree with Peter's point about global warming."

Remember that in seminar discussions there's really no right or wrong answer - discussion is a way of arriving at new understandings and ideas. Nobody is judging what you say - all opinions are valid.

But, as eaptutor1 says, it's absolutely essential that you do the relevant reading before you go to the seminar. But don't just read the articles: make notes of the key ideas and any interesting facts or opinions you find in the articles. Write these ideas down on note-paper, make a note of your own opinion on the ideas, and then take your notes with you to the seminar. Then you can refer to them during the discussion. And, if the tutor asks you a question, you can at least quote from a text and say something like, "I thought this idea, by Philips et al, was very interesting."

So, don't panic! Just prepare your knowledge of the topic and enjoy the discussions!  

Good luck!! :)
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 10:25:37 PM by Martin Barge » Logged
michelle
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 11:20:45 AM »

That's really the way I feel when I am in a seminar group. Especially this year because I don't understand everything that english people say. But I think I have to be more active and try to explain my point of view ( when I have one) or to argue with other people.
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martin
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 02:31:57 PM »

My big problem is to speak.
In my home university it gives a programme called Tandem, there you can e.g. meet a guy from Spain and he learns from you your language and you learn his language (Spanish). It is a good to speak with a native speaker and you can so develop your pronunciation, but unfortunately hasn't QMUL a Tandem programme (or no any more) ...  :-\
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Martin Barge
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 09:01:37 PM »

Good evening everyone!

This is an interesting discussion, and it's good to share our experiences of seminars. I find that we have a lot more in common with each other than we perhaps at first imagine. It's good to know you're not the only one who feels like this, isn't it?

Of course, speaking in front of other people is one of the most difficult things we have to do in our professional lives - whether it's giving a presentation or taking part in a formal discussion (which a seminar is, really). And it's even more difficult to do in your second (or third/fourth) language!!

Martin - thank you for mentioning the Tandem programme. I think this is something we could try to set up at Queen Mary - I'll ask my colleagues in the School of Languages and the Language Learning Unit to see if we can start the ball rolling...

Thanks again to you all for an interesting discussion  ;) ...
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