Reviewing the effectiveness of the Oxford tutorial system in teaching an undergraduate qualifying law degree: a discussion of preliminary findings from a pilot study

Article


Balan, A. 2017. Reviewing the effectiveness of the Oxford tutorial system in teaching an undergraduate qualifying law degree: a discussion of preliminary findings from a pilot study. The Law Teacher. 52 (2), pp. 171-189.
AuthorsBalan, A.
Abstract

At undergraduate level the tutorial system at Oxford University has several features that serve to make it almost unique in UK Higher Education. Undergraduates are taught in tutorial groups, typically made up of one to three students, on a weekly basis. Work is usually prepared in advance of these sessions by students and the tutorial is then used as an opportunity for students to receive direct feedback on their work, as well as a platform for further work and tutor-led discussion. The central issue to be explored in this paper, which reports the findings of tutorial observations and interviews involving Oxford University Law students, is the effectiveness of this system of teaching. Supporters of the Oxford tutorial system regard it as more academically challenging and rigorous than other methods of teaching, with its emphasis on developing critical thinking skills and a critical dialogue around feedback. Its detractors, meanwhile, consider it open to potential inconsistency and misuse by tutors. Key findings of this study give more support to the arguments of the former. It will also be demonstrated that there are a number of discipline-specific issues, which make consideration of the tutorial system particularly relevant and enlightening for undergraduate Law students.

KeywordsOxford tutorial system; assessment and feedback; critical thinking
JournalThe Law Teacher
Journal citation52 (2), pp. 171-189
ISSN0306-9400
1943-0353
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge) for Association of Law Teachers
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/03069400.2017.1332952
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/03069400.2017.1332952
Publication dates
Print27 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Jun 2017
Accepted17 May 2017
Accepted17 May 2017
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The Law Teacher on 27/06/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03069400.2017.1332952.
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
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