10 April 2017

The Importance of Arts Education

The value of education in the arts compared to science is of central importance. This question goes to the heart of what we teach our students and how we equip them for the world. It would be tempting to write “the world after education”, but there is no world after education. The creativity that is inspired by arts education is exactly the type of skill that will allow students to continue to learn and to think critically and creatively in an increasingly automated world. A recent “occupation” of part of the Tate Modern, arranged by the Institute of Education, aimed to provoke a discussion of arts education. The exhibition encouraged visitors to participate in workshops, and by taking part to express their own thoughts and feelings on the matter. This approach is reminiscent of the Reggio Emilia way of teaching. In Reggio Emilia, an area of Italy, a new educational approach pioneered encouraging students to express themselves. It tried, and continues to try, to allow students to attempt to use different ways of looking at familiar problems, and teachers are encouraged to learn alongside them. Those who wish to emulate the successes at maths and science found in Asian countries like Singapore may find this a questionable endeavour. However, artistic expression puts the responsibility on the student to think and to create. This makes the teaching of the arts a lot more rigorous than it may appear from the outside. In order to navigate a successful path through the new world of digitisation and automation, we may need to get a bit more arty.

 

02 February 2017

Limits to Student Visas Are Bad for Everyone

It is only days since President Donald Trump issued his executive order banning people from several countries from travel to the United States, and already the presidents of universities including Columbia, Stanford and Harvard are calling for it to be rescinded. This is not surprising, because it is self-evidently bad for higher education. However, it is not the only threat to students who wish to travel for their education. The Home Office is threatening to restrict student visas to the UK, which would be a terrible and costly decision, denying the benefits of a degree to the student, the academic institution and to both Britain and the student’s home country. Furthermore, Brexit (Britain’s exit from the EU) could create even further barriers to international students who wish to come to this country, and risk a rise in fees which would further polarise the gap between richer and more established universities and the rest. These are troubling times for the phenomenon of the international student, something which enriches both our economy and our culture.

 

01 January 2017

The New Term in London

At this point in the year, university students are preparing for the new term with renewed vigour after a well-earned break. It is time to concentrate very hard on devising a feasible schedule for both attending lectures and seminars, and balancing the time devoted to essay writing and research. The key is to start early and have a plan.

 

17 December 2016

The End of Autumn Term 2015

Mid-December is here and the term is ending for most of us. Many students are preparing to travel back to their home countries over the holiday period. It is a brilliant time to have a rest from the hard work of academic life, and perhaps even some winter sun! May all the international students in the UK who are travelling home have a safe and pleasant journey. Hopefully everyone will return refreshed in the New Year.

 

10 November 2016

Autumn Comes to London

Autumn has come to the capital city once again. Will it be a season of mist and mellow fruitfullness for you, or a time of pressure and impossible deadlines? It is your decision! If you make sure that you have the books you need and read the right chapters before your lectures, you will be able to produce high-quality work on time. If you do not do this, you will not be able to: it really is that simple. Get organised and enjoy watching the leaves on the trees turn from green to brown. Or fail to organise, and watch your hair turning grey. Here at Bond English, we have tried both of these approaches, and the first one is a lot more fun.

 

03 June 2016

Choosing The Right Course

This is an incredibly tough decision for some prospective students. UK undergraduate courses are much more specific and self-contained than similar university courses in the United States, where the course may consist of very diverse modules. It is therefore key to choose wisely: it may, after all, affect your entire career afterwards. However, in the interests of sustaining motivation throughout the course of study, picking a course which you actually enjoy may be more beneficial than applying for a course which seems to offer professional success, but which you do not really like. Thus a balance must be struck between accepting that studying involves a certain level of hard work, and following your heart in choosing to study something that you love.

 

20 April 2016

Exam Time!

This is officially the most stressful time of year for students at university in the UK. If a student has been diligently attending lectures and paying attention to the theory and skills being taught, applying them under the rigorous conditions of the examinations hall should be an opportunity to shine. Revision is essential, but do not under any circumstances leave it until the last moment. As usual, planning is crucial: work out how much time you have to revise for each of your course modules and make that time count by preparing answers to the questions on past papers.