Students in a seminar

Students in a seminar

Taking part in seminars

In UK, students are more likely to discuss with teachers and other students in the class than in my country. - Sheng-Li

The seminar is a common way of teaching students on university courses in the UK and it is very likely that you will experience seminars on your course too. An important point about seminars is that students are expected to take an active part in them. The seminar may be a way of teaching and learning that is unfamiliar to you and you may have some questions about what to expect.

In this activity you will listen to a university tutor talking about the purpose of seminars. This will help you find out what to expect in seminars on your course.

ActivityFinding out about seminars

In this activity you are going to listen to an interview with Elwyn, a university tutor, who is explaining what seminars in the UK are like.

Elwyn, a tutor at a British university

Instruction icon


Listen to the interview with Elwyn to see how many of these points he mentions. Select the tick Tick for the points that he mentions and the cross Cross for those he doesn't mention. Then read the feedback to check your answers. You can listen to the interview as many times as you need to.

 Seminars can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with this method of teaching.

 Students are expected to take part by speaking in seminars.

 Some students express their ideas spontaneously.

 Seminar discussion may focus on a piece of reading or research.

 It's not necessary to prepare in advance for seminars.

 In seminars, the tutor guides the discussion and encourages the students to take part.

 Learning through an exchange of views is central to most seminars.

 Students should be willing to speak and listen to each others' opinions in seminars.

Audio transcript (pdf, 12kb).

Listen to the interview with Elwyn again with the transcript above if you need to check your understanding. The parts of the transcript containing the answers to the listening task are highlighted.

Would you like to review the main points?