Kate: What can you do to help and support students who are maybe struggling with those skills?
Nick Thomas, History: We tailor the reading list very closely, or at least I do, for the seminars so that the recommended titles are made very clear for that particular seminar. It's very clear which books are going to apply to which particular questions.
It's also the questions themselves are couched in a way that will be raising particular historiographical questions so they're not just generic questions, you know, "what were the origins of the first world war?" it's just vast.
They are very particular questions that ask students to look at very particular issues so that it's possible for students to focus down on their reading so they're not just looking at a textbook. So they're encouraged to be quite ruthless in their reading,
so is there a chapter or even a section of chapter that's useful? Look at that, ignore the rest, so that they can then really get through the reading at a fairly rapid pace and get into the ideas very quickly.
Beyond that there is the issue of whether members of staff are approachable or not, and very often I've had students come up to me at the end of seminars or in office hours and say "ok, can you give me further advice on this reading" and that's been actually a very effective method.
Produced: June 2007, in collaboration with the University's Promoting Enhanced Student Learning (PESL) initiative.
This video also in: Teaching: Seminars (reasonable adjustments)