…when it’s a reading week. FE has had something similar to the university version this week, with no taught session. However this has not been a chance for students to go on holiday or lay in bed, they’re supposed to take the time to finish off assignments, do a bit of reading and in our students’ case have a one to one meeting with their tutor to discuss progress and goals. A kind of mid way review.
Of course, like the university reading week it is perhaps not used to its full advantage by some (I won’t say the majority here as I could be wrong) of the students. I got to listen into some meetings today and to book some others in for their session, most rather dismayed at the thought of coming into college for twenty minutes and even more dismayed when reminded that they can use the facilities to study and stay for the whole day if they wished.
Personally as a student, I love reading week. I like the pause it gives to the hectic pace of the semester and the opportunity it provides to catch up, regroup, rethink and replan. For a couple of years on our degree course we were denied a reading week and I felt the difference for sure, its absence was noted.
It’s a tough one, how to get FE students to study at such times? Is the onus on the teacher to set tasks which will encourage self directed learning or should students be mature enough, especially in year 2 to take responsibility for their own learning and make productive use of the week? After all they are going to be heading to uni next year (at least some of them) and they will need to understand the importance of independent study. Should we prepare them for that or let them prepare themselves? Back to the structure v unstructured debate I think…