This chapter looks at the academic experience you will face at a UK university. It is designed to help you analyse the kinds of teaching methods and learning experiences that are typical at a UK university. You are encouraged to think about how to adapt your approach to learning so that you can get the best advantage from the experience. The chapter includes:

analysing and understanding your own expectations

understanding the UK approach to teaching and learning at university

developing an understanding of your teachers and fellow students and the roles they play in your education

understanding and adapting to the teaching approach and teaching methods used.


To begin this section do the following exercise, which is designed for you to investigate your attitude and approach to learning. You will be asked to do this again at the end of this section to compare your answers and see if you have changed your view in any way. There is a commentary at the end which should help you understand how your attitude will fit with the approach to education typical in UK universities

Cultural note: Depending on the education you have received so far in your life (the educational culture you have experienced), you will have developed certain views and expectations about learning and teaching and your and your teachers’ roles concerning this. To investigate this look at the statements in the questionnaire and tick the ones you agree with:

Questionnaire: Your Current Beliefs and Attitude to Learning https://www.niso.org/standards/z39-96/ns/oasis-exchange/table">


It is the job of the teachers to be experts in the subjects they teach and to tell students what they need to know.


The main job of a teacher is to show students how to discover ideas for themselves and to give them the opportunity to do so.


There are no right and wrong answers to questions: facts are not fixed but rather interpretations. ‘Correct’ answers are therefore, in reality, simply good arguments.


It is the job of students to listen to teachers’ ideas, take notes from the teachers, learn the ideas and then repeat them in exams.


Learning is about being given the right facts and memorising them.


The real aim of a university education is to show students how to find things out rather than to tell them what to know.


When students fail a course it is because they do not work hard enough.

Instruction: Keep a note of your answers – you will revisit this exercise at the end of this section.