The Importance of Speaking in Seminars – OurWarwick

The Importance of Speaking in Seminars

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Outside my degree, I am extensively involved with student journalism…
Find out more about me Contact Noah

We’ve all been there. You signed up for a class which looked immensely interesting on the surface. A great teacher was advertised, exciting topics each week and a chance to really explore an area of your passion. However, in reality, it’s a disappointment and not as engaging as you had expected. You feel down and frustrated with yourself and the course.

Maybe the content seems too tricky and inaccessible for you to do well on an assessment. It could be the lecturer doesn’t get their points across in the clearest manner. Perhaps the seminar tutor isn’t the best at bringing a discussion together to ensure everyone can give their reflections. This means the seminar, which should be a beacon for academic discovery and discussion, is not an hour you will remember in a positive manner.

In situations like this, it’s easy to remain quiet each week. Instead of offering a contribution to something you’re not interested in, you let others do the talking and just take any notes that might become useful at a later date. You watch the clock tick closer to the end of the hour. However, that is the number one guaranteed way to ensure you don’t get from the university experience what you deserve.

Developing the courage to speak in seminars is something that will make the class – even one that is not your favourite – far more worthwhile. It will take you from being a passive learner who watches lectures, reads texts and listens to others and instead ensure you play an active part in the learning.

Just speaking once in each seminar could also be the catalyst for sparking a meaningful intellectual discussion. By raising your point of view, you could encourage others to take part and offer their academic opinions. They might disagree with you, challenge your premise and develop the discussion further. This should be celebrated. When a university is at its best, it is a beacon for the free exchange of ideas. This means seminars should be just as much about being challenged on your views as it is making them.

Fundamentally, hearing that opposing view could make constructing an essay far easier. If you’ve heard a difference of opinion in real life, putting pen to paper and finding those critical texts should no longer seem as difficult. It also better distinguishes the university environment from the secondary school or sixth form classroom you’ve been use to. Sparks – with civility – should fly, ideas should be challenged, orthodoxies should be turned on their head. This ensures a great expansion of knowledge is possible and means you’re getting value for money to boot.

So next time you feel like keeping quiet, take that leap of faith and have a go at making your point of view known. You never quite know what a conversation you’ll be starting. Even if you think your point is imperfect and not fully rounded, it is better to have tried speaking in seminars than to not speak at all.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Outside my degree, I am extensively involved with student journalism…
Find out more about me Contact Noah

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