You will meet a variety of teaching situations during your degree programme. The balance between these varies considerably, depending on your discipline area, what kind of university you are studying with, and the general ethos of your course. To make the most of all the different teaching situations you encounter, the primary requirement is for you to regard each of them as learning situations. Never mind the teaching, feel the learning! Not all of your learning happens in such situations as lectures, seminars, studios and so on, of course; quite a lot of your real learning happens under your own steam, in independent study contexts – for example in your private reading, practising solving problems, talking to fellow students, doing assessed coursework and revising for exams. All this is over and above the many hours you clock up in teaching situations, and there are many suggestions about how you can make the most of your independent studying elsewhere in this book. However, capitalizing on teaching situations means that you can put all of your time to good use.
It is dangerously easy to switch off from learning in teaching situations. However, just because someone else is controlling the situation (for example a lecturer delivering a rather dull lecture) does not mean that your mind is being controlled for you. You are still in charge of what you think. You are in charge of how you capture what you need to take away from the teaching situation. You can plan how to get what you need from it to make your subsequent learning more productive. You can make a good start on your learning while still in the teaching situation. If nothing much is happening that is of real value to you (maybe, for example, when you find yourself listening to things that you already