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Tutors' View: Harnessing Students' Potential

Posted On: February 18, 2015
by Ali Jan

That the education systems in many developing countries suffer from multiple and serious problems has gained the status of a truism; whatever the reasons for the less-than-satisfactory state of education, it is clear that the emphasis on rote learning and imitation instead of generating interest in the subject and developing the critical faculties of students results in the inability of many bright young minds to engage deeply with their subject matter and break new grounds that are becoming the indispensable markers of success in today’s increasingly competitive world. Fortunately, The Oxford Institute aims to harness precisely those skills and faculties that are appropriate to today’s world, where knowledge, innovation, confidence and creativity are the watchwords.

This is achieved through a wonderful combination of both academic and non-academic pursuits. The tutorial method of teaching allows for a degree of personalized interaction between students and teacher that cannot possibly be replicated in large classes with dozens of students. It helps to deflect attention from a singular focus on grades to generating the student’s interest in the subject itself, a process aided further by the small class sizes that are never more than 3 to 4 students. Furthermore, the administration focuses not only on coursework but also sets aside appropriate time for extra-curricular activities that help build up the confidence of students, which is essential in order to excel in today’s world. The combination of stress on learning, personalized interaction between students and teacher as well as among students themselves, and an extremely competent and committed group of teachers and administrators aiming to balance rigorous academic study with extra-curricular activities all combine to create an environment where students are prepared to develop both academically and socially.

My experience as an economics tutor was extremely enriching and exciting. As is commonly known, the fundamental problem that economics students face is the abstract nature of the theory that often obscures the relationship to real world problems. This was a complaint my students made at the beginning of the course as well, and is one that normally goes unaddressed in most economics courses due to the large size of the classes that generates a great distance between the teacher and students. However, we were able to identify and solve this problem precisely because of the emphasis on interaction between students and teacher, which encourages us to tailor our teaching material and methods according to specific needs of each student. This process is greatly facilitated by the three-way communication that exists between students, teachers and the administration that creates a great feedback loop through which problems are identified and solved.

As a result, I closely observed how my students became progressively more interested in their subject as the course went on and I’m even more happy to say that the majority of the students in our economics class are now pursuing economics for their higher studies and cite The Oxford Institute’s Summer school as a major source that ignited their passion for the subject. I truly believe there is no greater satisfaction for a teacher and no greater vindication of the success of the wonderful team at The Oxford Institute.

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