Nutrition Tea Club; engaging students in reading scientific papers.

Ellie Cameron, Rania Hamdi, Aisha Idowu, Hilda Mulrooney


Many students do not engage with reading the scientific literature, which is a core skill in undergraduate students. The learning environment has an important impact upon learning. It was postulated that taking reading out of the formal learning environment might impact upon students’ willingness to engage with the literature, and confidence in doing so. A staff-student research partnership initiative funded by Kingston University allowed this hypothesis to be tested. Three Tea Club sessions, informal drop-in reading sessions were offered in a student-owned space within the Students’ Union. Refreshments were supplied, aiming for a ‘coffee house’ feel. Although the numbers of students who engaged with the Tea Club were small, evaluations were positive. In particular students valued the opportunity for peer learning. However the chosen environment was too noisy. Future sessions will be offered within a different, less noisy environment with facilities for refreshments, and will be offered throughout the academic year to facilitate student engagement.

Keywords: Learning environment, peer support, extracurricular, scientific reading


Learning environment; peer support; extracurricular; scientific reading

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New Directions in the Teaching of Natural Sciences

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