Seminar discussion: problems of the transition from school to university

Seminar discussion: problems of the transition from school to university

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Jeanne: The topic of the seminar today is
“Problems of the transition from school to university.”
The purpose of the seminar is to think of ways to help students
to better cope with their academic work. Let’s start by talking about two problems
faced by first-year students. They are, time management and working in groups. Well, I think that University students seem to have a lot of ‘free’ time available
and there could be a whole day without any lectures or seminars
So, in other words, university life is sort of ‘unstructured’ compared to school, we often have to hold discussions and do assignments in groups which can cause
lots of problems for first-year students I know you have searched for useful materials
in the Library and on websites, so let’s see what we’ve
found out I’d like to start off by asking Dennis to
tell us about time management Dennis: As I see it, the most important thing
is to learn and use organising and time management skills
Jenny: I think you’re right. The books say we should
make three kinds of timetables such as the semester planner, the weekly planner
and a diary for everyday work … Dianne: Go on.
Dennis: A semester planner is for things you must do and don’t change
such as tests and exams, and assignment due dates. A weekly planner
is for you to put down classes and extra-curricular activities;
while the diary is an action list which you can tck for everyday work such as pre-lecture
readings, homework, and family functions They help students organise
their time in a systematic way Dianne: To a certain extent, yes, but they
are not always helpful Research shows that it’s maybe difficult
to stick to planners, like it maybe difficult to control time in collecting information
for papers and projects.
Jeanne: I couldn’t agree more. It’s hard to fit in
part-time jobs, extra-curricular activities, and social life with academic (studies).
Some social activities just pop up at the last minute
and you feel bad turning down invitations Dennis: It seems to me that I spend too much
time on ‘time wasters’ such as chats, phone calls,
ICQing, watching TV, browsing the internet, etc. I
must learn to say “No”. Jenny: I’ve got some tips from university
websites and they say we must also learn how to research
effectively, such as, we can attend workshops organised by the library,
we could also ask teachers for help outside class time and even make
use of consultation hours. This is important because we need to do
a lot of reading and assignments in a short time period.
Jeanne: Well, we’re running out of time, so, let’s move on to the second problem.
What’s your view on working in groups, Jenny? Jenny: As I see it, it is a problem because
group work requires communications in different ways, such as
face-to-face, phone calls, and email, which take up a lot of time.
Dianne: As far as I’m concerned, the problem is you need to
work with people that you don’t know. Group work is never easy
because sometimes, some people are dominating, others contribute little,
very often I find that the time is spent unproductively and I often feel frustrated.
Dennis: I agree with Dianne about knowing our team members, it’s good to get to know our team members, find out their backgrounds,
strengths and interests so we can know what they like to do and what
they are good at, and so we can build a good working relationship.
Jeanne: Well, my readings say that to get better grades we should clarify
assignment requirements such as the purpose of the project and the skills
we need to demonstrate in the project. Dianne: I think you’re right. And after
understanding the task, then we can break them down into subtasks, and see which parts can be done on our own and what can be done in a
group. Dennis: Then we need to agree on a plan and
the deadlines. Someone should be chosen to take on a leadership
role to guide the process.

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