Independent Learning and Thinking

We aim to create an environment that encourages and promotes independent thinking and lifelong learning. Our task as a college community is to help students to transition from school life to university life by fostering independent learning and thinking. Students gradually learn to take responsibility for their own performance and well-being through a carefully thought out offering of academic and pastoral services and processes:

Academic Plans: At induction all students are given the opportunity to discuss and confirm their subject choices and trial lessons can be offered. Through regular review and monitoring, the need for additional support is identified and offered through individual or mini-group tuition. Feedback from subject tutors, regular assessment data and attendance records are taken into account and inform the regular termly academic progress meetings with the students. In addition, students also have a termly welfare meeting to make sure their performance is supported by good health and well-being.

Personal goal planners: Students set themselves specific targets and goals that allow them to focus on short and medium-term strategies to improve their performance. These are reviewed at each student’s academic progress meeting with their Tutor Group leader and at termly meetings with the Principal and Director of Studies. Students are able to identify for themselves where they need extra revision and help, both of which is offered in many different ways to suit different learning styles.

Oxford Mentor Programme: Comprising of post graduate students from Oxford University and college tutors, this programme offers regular additional academic support via evening classes open to all students. Being of a less formal format these classes allow students to determine what they need to revise and the level of support they want from the mentors. Students who achieve less than 75% in a mock exam are required to attend these lessons.

Self-Study Periods: All students have a number of ‘Self Study’ periods included in their weekly time tables. During these periods students are given the opportunity to explore and develop their preferred individual learning styles and the environment that best suits them, for example studying alone in our quiet study room, as a group in the student café or dining hall, in their bedrooms, a University library, etc.

Tutor Groups: Every student is part of a tutor group of eight students led by a Tutor Group Leader which meets every month. Group sessions give rise to discussions about their lives in Oxford and provide opportunities for seeking advice and giving feedback to the college. In addition, the students have short individual academic progress meeting with the Tutor Group Leader.

College Assemblies: A regular feature of the monthly College Assembly is “Passion Corner” where students and staff prepare and deliver presentations on issues they are passionate about or to raise awareness. Passion corner topics by students this year included Business, Money, Connecting to the Natural World and Winning.  Passion Corner encourages students to  self-reflect, express themselves to a group and make connections to the college community. Passion corner talks by staff included Director Mario Peters on how employers are looking for more than just grades when choosing employees and Biology Tutor Zoe Lundy on how finding a passion can help you feel fulfilled and successful - drawing on her own experience of giving 100% as a rower for Oxford.  Principal Kim Terrar spoke about the current college exhibition on contemporary successful women and invited students to nominate other successful people to become part of the exhibition. Going forward this will lead to a discussion in assembly on what defines success and whether there are any common characteristics/qualities.

Another feature of the monthly assemblies is the ‘News Review’ section, in which four students volunteer to present their personal selection of world news stories from the previous month. This helps to raise students’ awareness of global events and provides further opportunities for them to form and communicate their own opinions. Students are also encouraged to use the College’s subscription to ‘The Day’ www.theday.org, a service which provides current affairs for schools. This resource is also used to discuss current affairs in tutor groups

Youth Leadership Programmes: The college offers a number of programmes that are designed to help students with life skills such as decision making, coping with stress, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, relationships and friendships. Regular programmes include:

Pathways to Success, a three-day residential under canvas (formerly known as Bushcraft). This ‘ice-breaker’ programme at the beginning of term is about building self-reliance and self-confidence. Students learn survival skills such as building their own woodland shelters in which they sleep for 2 nights, making their own fires and cooking their own food, alongside a programme of team games and exercises.

HeroPath for Teens, a unique weekend workshop originating in the USA and offered once a year to all students at the college. We are the first school to offer this programme in a school setting, inviting 5 trainers from the USA and UK every year to deliver the programme. The programme aims to “prepare teens for life’s challenges and successes".

Mindfulness for coping with Exam Stress, a 6 to 8-week programme delivered on weekends with the intention to help students cope with exam stress and to help cultivate focus and concentration through simple meditation and understanding basic neuro-scientific principles.

Student Council A Student Council comprising 9 elected representatives is responsible for representing the views of the student body and works closely with the college management on issues of importance to the college. The Student Council manages a budget with complete responsibility and autonomy.

Oxford Student Consortium: Oxford International College’s Student Council led the formation of the Student Committee of the Oxford Consortium of Sixth From and Independent Colleges. The consortium represents 15 independent education providers in Oxford. The Student Committee provides students with wider social, cultural and sporting opportunities.