Academic Seminars

Seminars for academic English students. What is a seminar? Seminar procedures and seminar practice lessons.

                          Seminar Phrases

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What is a seminar?

Generally, it is a small discussion on a specific topic among a group of students. At university it can be a central part of the learning process from lecturers creating seminars around pre-reading texts or post-lecture discussions. Commonly, at university English language centres seminars have become a feature of testing English speaking  though fluency, conversational skills and ability to discuss complex subjects.

 

Pre-seminar procedures

Students are often given pre-texts and pre-listenings before the seminar to prepare. Students are expected to read and listen to texts carefully by making detailed notes and come to the seminar fully prepared.

 

A Seminar Test

 a seminar test usually...

  • consists of 6 people (one can be nominated the chair perso

  • a set of questions

  • lasts for 25-30minutes

  • The last 5 minutes summarise key points

  • Students CAN use their texts and notes

 

The seminar process

  • The group are called into a room and sit around a table.

  • The questions are given out and students have 3 minutes to read and prepare

  • The seminar begins with an opening statement - what you are here today to discuss?

  • The students then begin to discuss the first question.

  • Each student should make a contribution by referring to their notes  / texts.

  • The Seminar should flow with students adding to what was previously said.

  • Once everyone agrees this question has been addressed in full, then they move onto the next question.

  • Important:  not all the questions have to be answered but they should be discussed in order

  • Important: Sometimes choosing a chair person can create problems and it's better if the students run it collectively.

  • Once the students begin to approach 25 minutes they should bring it to an end by each one summarising a main point raised.

 

key points to a seminar

  • It should be a flowing conversation with everyone involved and contributing.

  • The teacher / Tutor should not intervene if it goes quiet but let the students manage the discussion.

  • Students have to show confidence and demonstrate thorough awareness of texts.

  • Dominant students are penalised for not sharing and including others.

  • Grouping is important (careful consideration is needed on putting students in groups)

  • key debate phrases should be used  to should conversation skills -  agreeing, disagreeing, interrupting, etc...

The Theory

Why have seminars?

Seminars create opportunities to:

  • explore topics in more depth;

  • share ideas in a way that will advance your thinking;

  • learn from other people's experiences and background knowledge;

  • gain perspectives and points of view that you might not have      otherwise considered;

  • identify and sort out any misunderstandings.

 

Listed below are some of the skills - often called transferable skills - that you will be developing:

  • listening
  • negotiation
  • leadership
  • team work
  • oral communication
  • responsibility
  • sharing
  • knowledge
  • time management
  • developing an argument
  • colloboration
  • conflicting opinions
  • visual aids

 

More information on participating in seminarshttp://www.brunel.ac.uk/learnhigher/participating-in-seminars/what-is-the-point-of-seminars.shtml

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Seminars are small group discussions. Seminar phrases and advice. Click here.

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