How Tutorials at Oxford Summer Courses help you defend your argument better

scroll

Date of Publication: 15 May 2014

One of the great strengths of the tutorial system is that you are forced to defend your position. The benefit of having to present, clarify and defend your argument is that you are forced to take a side and get off the fence on important issues. This might seem mainly to apply to humanities, arts, and social science subjects, but it’s often the case in the “hard sciences” as well that key positions are up for debate, or at the very least their consequences and political implications. Often, unless you have to defend a position in reasoned (if sometimes heated) debate it’s difficult to see the full strengths and weaknesses of that position.

Having to defend your argument also sharpens your rhetorical and presentation skills, and improves your confidence, of course. But I think even more valuable is the fact that you know you will have to stick up for what you think. That forces you to make your mind up and genuinely think deeply and carefully about tricky issues.

Some tips for defending your argument in a tutorial:

First, you have to prepare your argument with a view to what sort of facts somebody unsympathetic to your position might bring up. How do you deal with those facts? Are they anomalies that can’t be explained by your account—or is the person disagreeing with you misinterpreting those facts? Can those facts be put into a different narrative that actually supports your argument? This is an important insight in any academic context (and in many contexts outside academia).

Second, the tutorial doesn’t end when the Tutor calls time on the discussion, there are wealth of books and articles out there to read, and if someone at Oxford Summer Courses has had a tutorial on the same topic then you will have all afternoon, and the next day to sit and talk together about it, to unpick the issues together and ask new questions of one another’s arguments that you hadn’t covered in your respective tutorials.

Check out our courses sure to improve your debating skills: PoliticsInternational Relations and International Relations and Politics

Related posts

July 22, 2021

Overcoming Your Fears | Tips for Starting University

Has the prospect of going to university started to settle in? Starting to feel nervous by the thought of arrivals day? For many students, the ….

Read more

July 16, 2021

How to Become a Doctor in the UK: 10 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking of a career in Medicine? If you have ambitions of one day becoming a doctor, chances are you’re already aware of the complex training ….

Read more

June 28, 2021

10 Famous Law Books to Read Before University

Applying to study Law at university? Want to start your first academic year with a solid foundation of knowledge? Perhaps you’re a newbie to the ….

Read more

Sign up to the Newsletter

Want to know more? Enter your details below to sign up for our email newsletter.