Tutor: Come in.
Tutor: Oh, hello, Ahmed. How are you?
Ahmed: Fine, thanks.
Tutor: Have a seat. So, how do you think the seminar went last week?
Ahmed: Q21 Oh, well, I enjoyed it. Yes, though I’m not sure. I really followed parts of the discussion that took place. Do you know about the theory and all that?
Tutor: Well, we can talk about that later. But were you comfortable in the group?
Ahmed: Oh, it’s better, I think than working on your own, though you’re comparing yourself all the time with the other students there.
Tutor: Okay, well, let’s talk about how you did and look at some strategies to help you in the future.
Ahmed: That would be great.
Tutor: Now, one of the things that students often overlooked when they go to seminars is that you do need to prepare for them. You can’t rely on other people.
Ahmed: I know I did look at the results of the experiments we did in class and write them up beforehand as you said.
Tutor: Yes, and that was good. It made it easier to analyze them. But you have to do some background reading as well. Did you get the list of articles I sent around? Mmm.
Ahmed: I started to read them.
Tutor: Okay, well, you’ll know that for next time.
Ahmed: Yes, sure
Tutor: So let’s move on to your participation in the seminar.
Tutor: Perhaps you can tell me how you think that went.
Ahmed: Yeah, well, I’m not used to talking to more than a couple of people. It’s very different from the way we learn in my home country.
Tutor: Yes, I appreciate that.
Ahmed: So I think I am. Well, I know I should have included everyone, but I think I kept turning to the person next to me.
Tutor: Is that because you were avoiding eye contact?
Ahmed: I don’t think so. I’m not shy. It’s just habit, I think.
Tutor: Well, that will improve as we do more seminars.
Tutor: Um, another difficulty is knowing when to speak.
Ahmed: Like when it’s your turn.
Ahmed: I felt I did wait for a pause.
Tutor: Yes, you handled that quite well.
Ahmed: Thing I’m really concerned about is keeping up with the discussion.
Tutor: Does your mind wander off?
Ahmed: Sometimes I jot down a lot of information, but I still find myself thinking about something else when lots of other students are talking.
Tutor: If there’s an assignment to do at the end of a group that usually helps,
Ahmed: I’m sure it does.
Tutor: Okay, now, the last thing I want to look at is the role you play in the seminar.
Ahmed: What do you mean?
Tutor: Well, when students work in groups, they don’t all behave the same way. Some students that quiet, and some look for support. Some ask a lot of questions.
Ahmed: That’s a new idea to me. I don’t know what I’m like.
Tutor: That’s probably because you’re thinking about your own performance all the time.
Ahmed: I guess so. I mean should I be different in some way?
Tutor: What I would say is that when we do the next seminar, you should look more at the people around you. You know, look outside yourself.
Ahmed: Like ask me how they feel.
Tutor: Yes, or what they’re looking for from the group.
Tutor: It doesn’t take much, but it’s important to watch what other students they’re doing.
Ahmed: Okay, I’ll do that.
Tutor: Fine. Now I’m going to suggest a couple of strategies for next week’s seminar.
Ahmed: Okay, that’s great. I need to participate more.
Tutor: Well, it’s not a question of saying more, but we need everyone to feel comfortable about giving their views.
Ahmed: Then the discussion is better.
Tutor: Yes, so you’re a confident person.
Ahmed: You should. I make sure I’m near someone who’s quiet
Tutor: You can do it, but it’s more about how well you pay attention to other students.
Ahmed: Okay, so I need to be attentive,
Tutor: Yes, and then encourage someone else to same or by saying what did you mean when you said or what do you think about the idea that
Ahmed: That way I’m talking?
Tutor: Yes, but you’ll find it other people will talk to you. You’ll all start to get really involved
Ahmed: Right they are good suggestions.
Tutor: The other thing that can really help is the way you take notes.
Ahmed: Yeah, I know I write down everything, but I should be stricter with myself.
Tutor: Well, you actually need to think a few days ahead.
Tutor: Yes, what’s the topic, and what’s the best way of making notes?
Ahmed: I see. So I have a strategy when I walk in the room.
Tutor: Exactly. Then when you read through them later, they’ll make sense and you won’t have to write them out again.
Ahmed: I always have to do that.
Tutor: The other thing, I would say is that you should include a small column in your notes where you conjugate down things you want to go back to before the seminar ends.
Ahmed: Like a reminder.
Tutor: Yes, notes aren’t just for later. You can use them as a prompt when there’s a pause in the discussion.
Ahmed: That’s been really hopeful.
Tutor: Okay, see you in class tomorrow.