What Is An English Seminar Like?
Seminars are a learning style unique to University; it’s unlikely that you will have been in a class quite like them before.
Similarly, seminar styles are specific to each University, and then subsequently the style will vary from module to module.
Here’s what to expect from your English seminars in Year 1!
The first thing I didn’t expect was that we were allowed to choose our seminar days and times. This is not true for all degrees, but for English at Warwick this applies. Being in control of your own timetable (to a certain extent) is hugely useful and makes life very flexible!
Your style of seminar will vary depending on who is teaching you. Similarly, some modules lend themselves better to a more content-focussed style, whereas others will be discussion based.
English seminars allow everyone to be heard; in all of my seminars, contributions are central to our learning! Before seminars, I failed to realise just how much you can learn about a text by hearing about the responses of other students to the same text.
All of my first year seminars occured once a week for one hour, amounting to four seminars per week. Generally speaking, they tend to occur post-lecture, whether that be later that day or a few days later, so you can discuss the lecture focus.
Seminars are much like small classes; the reason everyone can be heard is because your class size generally doesn’t rise above 10!
If I had one piece of advice for your seminars, it’s to engage with the pre-material as much as you possibly can. Just reading the text will of course allow you to learn a lot, but the general rule of thumb is that the more you put in, the more you get out. Thus, reading up on historical context and looking at some criticism helps you to learn so much more!