There are differences in learning styles when collated to one`s country of origin and this presents a difficulty for international students. In many countries students spends much of their time in class for instance in Nigeria students focus more on information provided by the lecturers in their sessions and never bother to expand their reading which is the case here in UK ,therefore students from countries like Nigeria finds it difficult to adapt to the situation.
To further explain the differences in learning styles we will look at Hofstede` s (1986) view on cultural differences in teaching and learning which will be classified according to the culture of the society. Therefore the teaching and learning styles in UK will be explained with reference to the four cultural dimensions described by Hofstede (1980) which are power distance societies, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance. Thus united kingdom can be classified under these four dimensions of cultures and this also has an impact on the teaching and learning styles in England which will be discussed below.
In trying to explain the teaching and learning styles in UK ,points will be taken from, Hofstede (1986) cultural differences in learning and teaching, which suggested that societies can be classified under the following cultural dimensions namely small power distance societies, individualist societies, weak uncertainty avoidance societies and fairly masculine societies .Firstly UK can be described as a small power distance society in the sense that in terms of their learning styles it is discovered that in school here teachers are expected to respect the independence of their students but in other countries like Nigeria which can be classified as large power distance society students are expected to respect their teachers, also in UK students are allowed to ask questions freely in class while in Nigeria the reverse is the case the student is allowed to talk only when invited by the teacher, during lectures in class a two-way communication is used to enhance learning therefore students are required to begin the communication and also students can oppose the teacher in class this issue of communication in class still affects some international students because they still have the fear in them that nobody has the right to speak whilst the lecture is going on or even to go contradicting the teacher. Also some issues that needs to be mentioned here is that in schools here in UK when conflict arises between the teacher and student, the parents or guardian of the student is expected to be in the supporting side of the student. Students here in UK prefer the young teachers than the old ones, in this case we the international students prefers the older teachers whom we believe has the skills of teaching and can as well impact knowledge in us. (this is from Nigerian perception),also UK emphasis is laid on impersonal truth rather than wisdom which can in any principle be acquired from any capable person.
Secondly United Kingdom though a fairly masculine society can also be classified as feminine society in terms of their learning styles this is because in schools male students are free to choose course which they feel they can perform very well in not minding whether it is traditionally meant for females or not, students also choose academic courses with an inborn motive to study the course not in pursue of career opportunities i.e Nigerian students. Here in UK studying is not made compulsory for everyone in order words students failure is not a serious issue unlike Nigeria where you will feel isolated because of
Your failure to perform well in school. Teachers place a high esteem on average students rather than the best students in order to motivate the average students to work harder. corporal punishment is not allowed here in UK even in schools, it is however discovered that students in UK tries to display an unassuming behavior.
Thirdly in looking at the learning styles in UK from an individualist point of view it is discovered that they believe in permanent education that one is never too old to learn, here students are given the chance to do certain things themselves that is they are expected to learn how to learn, for example in the university of Bedfordshire students are given access to learning facilities e.g. libraries filled with textbooks, journals, newspapers, access to computers in the library with Wi-Fi , free internet for students who live in the school hostel also library services can be accessed from home through digital library you can read e-journals, search data bases, check the catalogue and so on, All these resources provided by the school was to ensure the students learns how to learn and not solely depending on the lecturers for information. It is also found here in UK that lecturers tends to be unprejudiced they never give room for any preferential treatment they treat everybody as equal unlike Nigeria where lectures give preferential treatment to those related or close to him or rather those from the same ethnic background with him. In UK Education is viewed as way of enhancing one`s economic importance and self esteem based on skills and suitability, high value is placed on one`s suitability on skills and knowledge acquired rather than acquiring certificates.
Finally United Kingdom is classified under strong uncertainty avoidance societies in terms their learning styles, however in this type of society students are convenient with the learning condition in school such as precise objectives, detailed assignments, strict timetables and so on. Their view of a good teacher is one who uses an academic language to teach, hence teachers are expected to be equal to the task when it comes answering questions concerning academics. Also it is being discovered that the students and teachers here are expected to display their emotions rather than restraining it. Students who solves problems correctly are rewarded for that.
The learning styles in United Kingdom is completely different from other countries, for example in university of Bedfordshire the school environment is well structured and it is a conducive place to study. Generally United Kingdom is really a wonderful place to be in terms of academics.