Abstract for ALDinHE conference, “Engaging Students – Engaging Learning”

Penetrating the mysteries of academic style and producing written assignments of an acceptable quality are two of the most demanding tasks faced by all students at university.  However,  due to unfamiliar approaches, differing expectations and perplexing uses of language, international students in particular often struggle to negotiate the transition to the requirements of academic discourse at Masters level.  Taking a critical approach in their studies can also be a mode to which they are unaccustomed.  The challenge for learning developers is to engage students in recognising academic discourse, developing their understanding of it and applying this knowledge to  their own writing.

This workshop will share experiences gained when using a critical thinking approach to teaching reading and writing skills in curriculum based initiatives with cohorts of mainly (but not exclusively) international students in Nanotechnology and Food Science at the University of Leeds.  The case studies we will introduce were highly subject specific and tailored to the initial assignments students had been given.  However, the approach, strategies and activities could be readily adapted and hence transposed for use in other disciplines.

Participants will have opportunities to try some of the activities which deconstruct the conventions of academic articles for themselves; and to share their own ideas and experiences of engaging students in the learning process required to become critical academic readers and writers.

Here’s a mind map of my initial thoughts:Mind map

I’m recording relevant books and articles on Mendeley: https://www.mendeley.com/groups/961271/_/widget/29/3/.  CritThink at Aldcon is a group in Education, Linguistics on Mendeley.

Slides now available here: http://www.slideshare.net/lucubrat/crit-think