Using Debate to develop Writing Skills for IELTS Writing Task 2 among STEM Students
The paper focuses on the issue of developing essay writing skills in the context of IELTS preparation and explores the issue of whether academic debate can enhance STEM students’ ability to structure their essays, develop a smooth progression of ideas, and provide supported and extended arguments, which, in turn, may result in higher scores for the IELTS Task Response and Coherence and Cohesion categories. To answer this, a study was undertaken in the academic years 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 among STEM undergraduate students in the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. The study involved two groups of students (36 students in each): the group that attended regular IELTS preparation classes and the other that, in addition to regular classes, attended debate classes where among other things Toulmin’s argument structure was taught. At the beginning and end of the experiment both groups submitted essays that were analysed according to IELTS rubrics for Task Response and Coherence and Cohesion, and the presence or absence of the elements of Toulmin’s argument structure. In addition, the essays were assessed by an independent IELTS teacher. An independent-samples t-test and Levene’s test were utilised to determine the significance of the collected data. The findings revealed that, on average, the students of the experimental group scored well in Task Response and Coherence and Cohesion, yet some results were inconsistent, which requires further research.
The need to foster critical thinking has long been one of the key issues in education. It is essentially vital nowadays against the background of an increased volume of cross-cultural communications due to the present-day demand for collaboration to tackle pressing global issues through joint efforts of different nations. While the format of debates has been recognized by researchers as one of the most efficient tools of setting off critical thinking, it is up to the new technologies in education to make it possible to bring this platform to a cross-cultural level. Since a cross-cultural dialogue in most cases supposes the mastery of a foreign language, e-learning in the form of cross-border video-conference debates present an invaluable opportunity for educators to enhance the pedagogy of foreign language acquisition around the globe. The present paper focuses on a case-study of an on-going project of implementing the tool of synchronous cross-cultural video-conference debates.
In response to a growing demand for highly proficient speakers of foreign languages, both from private and government sectors, an added emphasis has been placed on developing communicative skills in the foreign language classroom. While time in a target language culture certainly plays a valuable and needed role, this research demonstrates that innovative curricular design and development in the university foreign language classroom can equal if not exceed uptake that occurs in extended immersion environments. A thorough description of the research design is provided, including the application of lexical items (connectors), listening, reading, written exercises, and videoconference debates involving students from National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Assessment instruments used to measure language uptake among students included pre- and post-written proficiency testing and oral proficiency interviews in one’s respective target language as administered by certified American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) raters. In addition, students completed a background language questionnaire designed to elicit data relative to individual learner motivation.
The book is designed to develop academic reading skills and prepare for the IELTS exam. It contains supplementary exercises to “The CAE Course” published by Cambridge University Press.
People with technological educational background are often skeptical about the humanities. This is first of all caused by labor market inequalities: people employed in the IT industry, which requires an analytical mind and appropriate skills, are usually better paid than their peers representing the humanities. Secondly, people with a logical mind, especially students of leading technological universities, are used to finding logic everywhere, while the humanities are rare based on strict logic. In this paper we will explain why humanities are important for engineering specialists on the whole and for IT people in particular and how to make tech students interested in such subjects.
The book contains supplementary exercises in IELTS exam format to texts from Fast Track to CAE (Longman). The exercises were specifically developed for 1st year students to be used in class.
The chapter focuses on STEM policies in Russia in recent years. It discusses the dynamics of STEM provision at all levels of education from primary to postgraduate, including the decline of participation in STEM disciplines, the underrepresentation of women and other trends in the Russian context. It also notes the lack of evidence for a clearcut link between STEM education and labour market outcomes for STEM degree holders. STEM policies in Russia require greater consistency, and more effective integration with other educational policies and with goals of national development.
Institutions affect investment decisions, including investments in human capital. Hence institutions are relevant for the allocation of talent. Good market-supporting institutions attract talent to productive value-creating activities, whereas poor ones raise the appeal of rent-seeking. We propose a theoretical model that predicts that more talented individuals are particularly sensitive in their career choices to the quality of institutions, and test these predictions on a sample of around 95 countries of the world. We find a strong positive association between the quality of institutions and graduation of college and university students in science, and an even stronger negative correlation with graduation in law. Our findings are robust to various specifications of empirical models, including smaller samples of former colonies and transition countries. The quality of human capital makes the distinction between educational choices under strong and weak institutions particularly sharp. We show that the allocation of talent is an important link between institutions and growth.