The Tutorial Method of Learning
The tutorial method of learning: A levels that prepare you for university life.
Transforming the educational paradigms
At Greene’s College Oxford, we instil in our students the capacity for independent thinking and a life-long passion for learning throughout their sixth form studies, before they go to university. But rather than a radical re-imagining of education, Greene’s has relied on a time-tested pedagogy, rooted in the Socratic method, that we have been successfully applying for over 55 years.
Dr Neil Dawson, History and Sociology Tutor at Greene's
Students need to be able to demonstrate subtlety of thought and bring different ideas and perspectives together to achieve high marks at A level. These skills are vital for advancing through higher education and they are increasingly prized on the job market. The tutorial method used at Greene’s is highly suited to developing these skills.
Greene’s Method of learning: The Tutorial Method
This style of learning is defined by small group or paired tuition, taught in the Socratic method, with an emphasis on independent study. It allows us to work with you as an individual and support you in cultivating your confidence, critical thinking, ability to work with others, effective oral and written communication and independent learning skills. These skills will prepare you for the transition from A levels to university life.
A tutorial session itself can take the shape of a debate on aspects of literature, collaborative microscopy work, an analysis of a mathematical problem, a discussion of philosophical thought—and many other forms. One of the core benefits of the tutorial method is that tutorials can be individualised to each student and are shaped by the lively exchange of ideas between a unique pairing of tutor and tutee. Assuming students come well-prepared, these sessions encourage students to discover—literally to un-cover—truths that are waiting to be revealed by their own unique intellect. There is no telling what the course or outcome of the discussion will be.
The tutorial system and the tutors are so good. It was just such a positive experience. I really felt like my tutors and Greene’s had such a handle on my learning without me being overly directed.
I would totally recommend Greene’s. This type of learning is much better than traditional teaching. It focuses more on the student and the skills that they have rather than aiming at the average child in the class.
I enjoyed being at Greene’s and felt well supported from day one. It’s a unique form of learning and it’s worked for me.
Everything lived up to my expectations. I’ve learned a lot beyond my academic subjects. Greene’s gave me a different perspective and I enjoyed the independent learning and the opportunity to take advantage of Oxford tutors and university facilities. I really appreciated the chance to join the Oxford Union and I went to all the debates with two friends from Greene’s.
You weren’t only learning for the exam. You could tell that the tutors were passionate and tutorials were engaging because of the depth of knowledge and enthusiasm of the tutors.
A Greene's student's mother, 2017
Mrs Lapwood, 2012
Up to now the course and tutors have been a great success. Thanks so much for matching him so well to the right people who have restored his enthusiasm for learning, and taken him faster, deeper and broader than he could have gone at school – they have all been just right for him. My sister is also an A level tutor (maths) in Surrey – she has been very impressed by your approach.
delivering results for over 55 years
Delivering highly effective, active learning is self-evident in Greene’s examination results. Since 2019, 60% of all grades awarded to Greene’s students have been A* or A grades. Despite being a non-selective sixth form college, students who have taken tuition at Greene’s in the last academic year (2021-22) have gone on to achieve above the national average in A* and A grades. Moreover, since 2019, for students retaking A levels, every student achieved at least one grade uplift in each subject they were taking. Over 90% achieved a two-grade uplift and one-third of students achieved a three-grade uplift.
In 2023, a full-time online student achieved the highest mark in the U.K. for the AQA AS level Geography examination series – whether you study online or face to face, learning at Greene’s sticks.
As a tutorial college, we fit into your timetable; you are not squeezed into ours.
Learning is not only about memorising, practising, and examinations. It is also about the ability to reason, debate, and think independently – all attributes that need to be developed for future success at university and in the workplace. Development of these abilities requires you to be challenged through discussion, debate and direct contact with a tutor.
In today’s world, information is more freely available and accessible than ever before and we believe that our Greene’s method of learning, which focuses on the processing of concepts, ideas and knowledge through discussion, is more relevant than ever before.
Often at school you are taught in a group then given homework to practise and consolidate what you have learnt. In a tutorial environment you will first study independently by reading, problem solving, working with your colleagues, working on projects, attending talks and completing assignments. You should then expect to be challenged to think and discuss your work with your tutor.
The tutorial method is most successful when both you and your tutors meet a number of conditions:
- You should aim to come to each tutorial having already absorbed the information and knowledge that the tutor will flesh out through discussion.
- You should thus engage with your tutors to help to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. They will provide regular feedback, both during and after each tutorial. Your tutor directs the thinking and discussion during the tutorial toward topics and concepts that you are having difficulty with or may not have considered. Feedback during the tutorial will help you challenge your thinking and knowledge; whilst feedback after the tutorial helps you to measure your progress.