Adult learning


Adult Learning

There are many different ways of learning more about the UK and here you will find a fascinating route that Xiau took, going back to fundamentals and studying for foundation qualifications.  So, read this to find out why people go back to education.

Xiau has post-graduate qualifications but was struggling to get a job and noticed that English and Maths GCSE’s were essential qualifications that employers wanted. He also thought that studying for these qualifications would help him make friends and understand more about British society.  GCSE’s are the exams children take at 16 and Maths and English GCSE are mandatory for entering many professions.

So, what was the experience like?  He joined a class of 20 adults, some British, some newcomers. The class was made up of people of all ages;  some hadn’t passed these exams when they were at school, so were entering education again and were doing the exams at the same time as their children, others were in their late 20s.  You need GCSE English and Maths, for instance, if you want to do a nursing degree.

He found it very interesting going back to the fundamentals.  It connects you to the basics. He also found that he knew more about English grammar than his teacher.  It’s often the case that people who have learnt English as a foreign language write and speak better English than people who were born here. This is because for a long time, grammar has been not taught in English schools. It is now and one of the useful things you are taught at GCSE English is ‘Point, Evidence, Explain’.  This is make your point, give the evidence behind it and then explain why.

What are the differences teaching in Asia and the UK?

Xiau found one major difference in our approach to exams to Asia. Here, it is very important to show how you have worked out the answer and that is as important as the right answer.  In Asia, the exams tend to be multiple choice, truth or false and, most importantly, are about getting the answer right.  Both countries ‘teach to the test’ meaning they concentrate on what the pupils’ need to pass the exam.

In Asia, the teaching is collectively based and students don’t tend to speak out. In the UK, students can speak out and ask questions although if you are ahead of the teacher, they can be dismissive!

It’s never too late

The really good thing about these courses is they are provided in a Further Education College and are free for people who have not achieved GCSE English and Maths in this country.  Top tip: check out your local Further Education College.  In London, there are a wide range and they offer all kinds of very reasonably priced courses but you will also find  colleges all over the country, offering basic skills training.  They are one of the great offerings of the British education system.  The UK believes in lifelong learning and if you haven’t achieved at school, it’s never too late.