Friday, November 20, 2009

How to get students to read

The problem with law students may not be that they don't read (it's pretty hard to avoid it in law school although many still try), but reading comprehension.  Thus, this article from Inside Higher Ed discussing techniques for getting students to read may have only limited appeal to this audience.  But as I (almost) always say, nothing-ventured-nothing-gained.

Among the suggestions:

There are scads of other ways to encourage reading. Discussion leaders can give quizzes, assign student presenters for each reading, or hand out advance questions in the form of a single sheet with blank spaces for really short responses. You can design tasks no more demanding than generating a list, applying one equation, or explaining a solitary concept. I’ve asked students to read material until they understand several identified ideas and can explain how they apply to examples that do not come from the reading. It really doesn’t matter what you devise so as that you do apply a stick to go with the reading carrot.

I'm sure some of you are thinking “But what if students don’t know how to read critically? Isn’t all of this wasted on them?” Perhaps; and perhaps this is a way to separate learners from the halt and lame. Two quick thoughts — first, we should stop moaning about what students don’t know and teach them where they are. Thinking, reading, and writing critically should be a basic component of 100-level classes. Second, the right to an education isn’t the same as a guarantee of success. More on such matters in a future article. For now, let’s think like Edward Bellamy and remove non-reading as an option.

You can read the rest here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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