Advent Calendar Day 7: Show students your reading

In a series: ADEPT Teaching and Learning Advent Calendar 2016
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In Day 7 of ADEPT's Teaching & Learning Advent Calendar, Emma Kennedy on getting students to think about how they read.

This is the Day 7 post of ADEPT’s Teaching and Learning Advent Calendar, sent as an email on December 7th 2016.

Image shows a brown mastiff-type dog wearing glasses and a silver chain collar. In the background is an open book.

Show students your reading

I’m sure many people have had the experience of students either not having done the reading, or giving the appearance of not having done the reading. This is incredibly frustrating, especially when you’ve made the effort to put together a list and pick out the most useful bits of reading to set as preparation material. But students aren’t doing this to annoy us (probably). It’s easy to forget that we’re experts in reading academic material from our subject. We’ve been doing it for several years (in some cases, over a decade). Students don’t have this expertise yet, and they’re probably still struggling to find a way in. An academic article can look really daunting, especially if you don’t yet have a set of routines that you use to prepare for a class.

One way to help students through this is to show them how you read. Annotate an article, and/or make notes, when you’re reading it in preparation for your class. In that class, show your students what you wrote and make it available to them so that they can use it to help themselves when preparing for their classes in future. It will let them see the concrete details of reading, and the practice and skill that goes into purposeful academic reading. It’ll also give them a better idea of the connection between the article and the session, which will hopefully encourage them to spend more time preparing for future sessions.

Interested in more ways to help students get to grips with reading? Check out this video on ADEPT: Dr Mary Flannery on getting students to present on secondary material.

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