Graduate Attributes: Developing Research Literacy in book History Graduates

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Graduate Attributes: Developing Research Literacy in book History Graduates. Lucy Warwick FSTL14. What is research literacy?. One of five attributes Oxford Brookes graduates should strive for: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Lucy WarwickFSTL14GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES:DEVELOPING RESEARCH LITERACY IN BOOK HISTORY GRADUATES

  • One of five attributes Oxford Brookes graduates should strive for:Research literacy: Ability to be a critical consumer of research, and also, where possible, to design and undertake at least a small-scale research project in the discipline, using appropriate methodology. Closely linked to another attribute: Academic literacyDisciplinary and professional knowledge and skills, understanding the epistemology and landscape of the discipline, and what it means to think and behave as a member of that disciplinary and/or professional community of practice. (OCSLD, 2011)

    Research is vital in book history. Employers and postgraduate opportunities often rely on a good dissertation, which itself relies on (and demonstrates) capabilities in research literacy.

    WHAT IS RESEARCH LITERACY?

  • learning is predicated not upon lecturing but upon discussion (Shrock and Shrock, 1994, 1095).Interactivity is key in engaging the student.Using primary sourcesencourages active learning. They compel students to interrogate the past, creating their own interpretation rather than just digesting or reciting the views of others. (Levy, 2004, 9). Data must be received critically, and analysed.- All the hallmarks of a good researcher.

    Try the activity on the next slideAre these just adverts, or can they provide a commentary on the roles and values of late nineteenth century women?What other questions can be posed? From whom did these adverts come, and who are they aimed at? What was happening around this time?= Critical and analytical thinking!IN THE CLASSROOM: METHODS TOWARDS DEVELOPING A GOOD RESEARCHER

  • Students are split into small groups to discuss the content of these adverts. Then, as a class, the values they promote, and how they compare to contemporary advertising is discussed.Such activities should encourage students not take their sources at face value- key in research literacy.

  • Similarly, I find applying theory to book history is best done visually to encourage active learning. Robert Darntons seminal Communications Circuit is used to demonstrate how books are produced. Its visual aspects make it an easy and useful tool. (Darnton 1982)

    APPLYING THEORY TO PRACTICESplit into small groups, students discuss the role and impact of one factor, before analysing the Circuit as a class. How does one factor influence another? Are any factors missing? Is their a hierarchy in book production?Questioning what they see, not just accepting and reciting the views of others is crucial in understanding the landscape of their discipline.

  • In the end, we hope all of this contributes to growth - growth that is broad and deep, analytical and imaginative, cross-cultural and historical. We hope it adds up to skills in inquiry, listening, speaking, critical reasoning, and argumentation. (Shrock and Shrock, 1994, 1094)

    Of course not forgetting the crucial first step: Library inductions are vital! Finding the right material is key to any good piece of research!Being able to find a wide range of sources leads to a better understanding of the landscape of any discipline.

    RESULTS

  • Splitting the students into smaller groups, then discussing as a class sparked more discussion and interaction.Working individually then discussing as a class (as I found out the hard way) rarely leads to the students engaging with the activity.Asking colleagues for advice on passive/non-engaging students has taught me some new tricks: Walk between the groups- they wont be interested if it looks like youre not.Get the class to move the tables- if they are facing each other properly, they cant really avoid interacting. Ask questions that get them to answer in the negative, then they need to back up their claims which can spark discussion.

    MY FIRST TEACHING EXPERIENCE: IMPROVEMENTS

  • Towards the end of her classes, American lecturer Emma Jones Lapsansky asks a few students: Whats on your mind right now?impromptu student responses at the end of the class help me to see how close the fit is between what I think I said and what the students think they heard. (Jones Lapsansky, 2003, 50) Helps to spark more student discussion, and would help me as a seminar leader to see where I need to improve in disseminating information correctly. (Self reflection, and Brookfields second lens: the students eyes.)

    Freedom of structure- although essay writing is paramount, maybe some projects could include images or audio. Could assignments be as interactive as the teaching? (See Curtis and Schwartz, 1973)Varied work is more fun to mark!Would develop technological skills, and innovative, independent thinking.

    LITERATURE: NEW IDEAS

  • Curtis. J. C. and Schwartz, S. (1972) Learning History through the Use of Media: An Experimental Approach The History Teacher , Vol. 6, No. 4 pp. 535-542 http://www.jstor.org/stable/492450Darnton, R. (1982) What is the history of books? Daedalus, Vol.111 No. 3 pp.65-83Jones Lapsansky (2003) Improving your Game: Bringing Classroom Discussions to Life OAH Magazine of History,Vol. 17 No. 2pp.49-50 doi:10.1093/maghis/17.2.49Levy, P. B. (2004) Teaching the 1960s with Primary Sources The History Teacher, Vol. 38, No. 1 pp. 9-20 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1555623Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) (2011): Brookes Graduate attributes http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/sese/graduate_attributes.pdfOxford Learning Institute What is critically reflective teaching? https://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/media/global/wwwadminoxacuk/localsites/oxfordlearninginstitute/documents/supportresources/lecturersteachingstaff/resources/resources/CriticallyReflectiveTeaching.pdfShrock, A. A. and Shrock, R. (1994) Engaging the Past The Journal of American History, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2081451

    REFERENCES

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