Teacherless University Opens in California

December 23, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. boot camp / ˈbut kæmp / (n.) – an intensive training program done within a very short time
Example: He learned painting from a two-week art boot camp.

2. conventional / kənˈvɛn ʃə nl / (adj.) – conforming to standards that are used and accepted by most people
Example: The school cannot be described as conventional since it has robot teachers.

3. pace / peɪs / (n.) – a rate or the speed at which someone moves or works
Example: The students work at different paces.

4. peer / pɪər / (n.) – a person who is considered equal in level, ability, or status to someone else
Example: He always sat together with his peers in school.

5. supervision / ˌsu pərˈvɪʒ ən / (n.) – the act of watching or guiding someone
Example: The leader is responsible for the supervision of the group.  


Read the text below.
École 42 / eɪˈkɔl ˈfɔr ti tu /, or 42, Frances university without teachers, has opened its first branch in the United States.

Announced in May this year, 42’s California campus has finally started operations in October. Every year, the university will admit candidates aged 18 to 30 years old who will pass online tests and perform well in a month-long boot camp. Applicants are not required to have previous experience in programming. Admitted students will be given training in coding, computer programming, and mobile data development for free. Some will also get free accommodation in the school’s dorm.

The first 42 university was founded three years ago in Paris. Unlike in conventional universities, students in 42 take charge of their own learning. They are free to work at their own pace on projects of their choice. Whenever students complete a project, they advance to the next level. Students graduate after reaching level 21, but they will not receive any certificate or formal degree.

Without teachers or lecturers to guide them, the students rely on peer learning, or learning from their fellow students, to complete projects. The students are also responsible for checking each other’s work.

The founders of 42 said that peer learning encourages students to be active learners.  It lets them develop confidence and creativity in solving problems by themselves. The operations director of 42 California added that this method promotes equality among students, and teaches them how to work with others.

On the other hand, an education expert believes that despite its advantages, peer learning is more effective when students are under the supervision of a teacher who can help students solve challenges that are beyond their ability.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is your opinion about a university without teachers?
·         Do you prefer studying in groups or by yourself? Why?

Discussion B

·         Which is more effective in your opinion: teacher-student learning or peer learning?
·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what are other ways to innovate learning? Give examples.

December 23, 2016