Developing Academic Skills of Reading and Writing. Методические указания и задания по развитию академических навыков чтения и письма на английском языке
The book is to be used as a supplement to an Upper Intermediate course in General English aiming to develop academic skills of reading and writing around the topics and vocabulary of 5 Units in the course book «Upstream Upper Intermediate» by Bob Obee –Virginia Evans (1, 2, 3, 6 and 9). Each section of the book includes instructions on developing basic reading and writing skills and several tasks to practise the skills.
This paper looks at the way of teaching academic writing skills to first-year students in General English classes. It describes the stages, the exercises and the material. Every stage is assessed and recommendations are sometimes given. At the end the analysis of the course is offered.
The focus of the article is the place of Academic Writing in English in the overall system of courses and the university curricula of philological faculties (schools of linguistic and literary studies), general principles of such courses and ways and challenges of their implementation. The theoretical part is followed by a case study: the Academic Writing (English) course taught at the Faculty of Philology (School of Linguistic and Literary Studies) of the Higher School of Economics.
The book aims to develop academic reading skills, reading efficiency, comprehension strategies, and critical skills in evaluating professional texts. For undergraduate students oh Economics and sociology.
To help graduate students with academic writing, a college of education at a large university implemented a new service, Writing Support Circles. Based on the results of the first series of this service, we changed its design. The purpose of this article is to share how changes in the design affected these adult learners’ writing self-efficacy and workshop satisfaction.
Contemporary argumentation theorists claim that argumentation has interactive, social, dynamic and dialogical nature and reflect social constructivist perspective. Yet, there are multiple approaches to promoting a most effective learning approach and instruction. How can students learn to construct strong arguments and distinguish between facts and opinions?
There are three educational approaches for developing argument skills: oral, written and web-based discussions. Research results reveal that expended engagement in argumentative discourse improves the quality of arguments even if there is no instruction provided.
In our book we take a mixed approach to teaching which is based on experiential learning and direct instruction. Direct instruction provides students with requirements for their writing while the experiential approach emphasizes their engagement and practice.
For Russian students, engaging in a “two-sided” argument (versus "one-sided") seems to be challenging. A two-sided argument addresses the opposing argument, rather than simply arguing for one's own position. It is crucial that Russian students learn to engage in evidence-based argumentation where they provide a claim and support it by evidence or reasons in a certain way.
Another challenge is that English instructors may also have difficulty in explaining how to make arguments and how evidence can be applied in reading and writing. Many teachers seem to be unprepared to provide instructional support for learning argumentation skills.
Development of cognitive competence requires acknowledging the academic and disciplinary discourses. Russian students often struggle to attend to opponent's claims and stay focused on their own claims. They also fail to identify any weaknesses in the opponent’s arguments. However, when proper instruction is available students are able to apply arguments.
There are various approaches to defining argument structure. Some researchers highlight a claim supported by grounds, warrants and backing. Others suggest argument-counterargument integration for defining an argument schema and suggest strategies to construct an integrative argument: refutation, constructing a design claim and weighing.
Whatever approach is chosen, one learning goal is for teachers and for students to become aware of the existing strategies and decide why they follow it. This is part of the goal of metacognitive development. It is also important to incorporate reflective activities into learning as they help to ensure that reasoning skills become internalized.
In addition to gaining awareness of the strategies and reflection, a learner should gain a deeper understanding of the content and persuading others with their arguments. Students should learn generate arguments that incorporate multiple perspectives of an issue. Our book employs reflective activities as a primary pedagogical tool for the improving argument and reasoning skills.
Our book is in line with the experiential learning which we see as the process of learning when students’ knowledge is based on their experience. “Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience" (Kolb, 1984, p. 41 in Kolb, et al., 2000). The learning process is structured in four stages including first experience (preliminary questions in each section), reflective observation (theoretical excerpts and sample writings), abstract conceptualization (end-of-the-section questions) and active experimentation (thinking, speaking, writing activities).
In our book we also scaffold argumentative written discourse and break up learning activities into different aspects. There are such techniques as working in collaborative pairs, reflective activities, dialogues and discussions.
The development of metacognition is based on extended reading activities and speaking. It will help ensure students become reflective about their reasoning and evidence. Apart from having students develop stronger arguments, we invite them to engage more with the opposing position which isn't necessarily false.
We do believe that mastering critical writing skills help students become better critical thinkers.
Students' internet usage attracts the attention of many researchers in different countries. Differences in internet penetration in diverse countries lead us to ask about the interaction of medium and culture in this process. In this paper we present an analysis based on a sample of 825 students from 18 Russian universities and discuss findings on particularities of students' ICT usage. On the background of the findings of the study, based on data collected in 2008-2009 year during a project "A сross-cultural study of the new learning culture formation in Germany and Russia", we discuss the problem of plagiarism in Russia, the availability of ICT features in Russian universities and an evaluation of the attractiveness of different categories of ICT usage and gender specifics in the use of ICT.