Essay-writing strategies for students are all at sea

Essay-writing strategies for students are all at sea

Staffordshire lecturer’s illustrated activity book introduces students to research techniques

By the time students arrive at university, it will probably have already been a few years because they came across an illustrated activity book.

But Writing Essays by Pictures is not any activity book that is ordinary. With a nautical theme, it casts essays as icebergs and sources as sea creatures in a cutting-edge make an effort to introduce first-year students towards the practice of academic research and writing.

Author Alke Grцppel-Wegener, senior lecturer in contextual studies at Staffordshire University, based the handsomely presented book on the essay-writing sessions with art and design students.

The book was launched this week and it is hoped that wider distribution will follow after raising nearly Ј2,000 from supporters on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website to fund an initial print run.

It opens using the call for students to think about their essays as icebergs, with a focused argument “above the water” backed up by thinking and research below.

After that it introduces students to reading, note-taking and thinking that is critical, inviting them to undertake practical, creative activities along the way.

It implies that readers try drawing pictures as they examine sources, in the place of taking notes, and encourages students to walk a familiar route at a quarter of their usual speed while taking notes on what they see around them, so that they can demonstrate the level of engagement that texts require.

The book advises students to categorise sources by thinking of them as different sea creatures, also to judge their rigour that is academic in associated with the depth from which they live in the ocean.

Other suggested techniques that are learning writing poems that condense source material and creating homemade cards as reminders of texts.

Dr Grцppel-Wegener said that she found in first years that she had developed her use of analogies and activities as a way to address, in an engaging and non-threatening way, the lack of confidence around academic writing.

“Giving students images that they might remember better, like the fish plus the iceberg, will hopefully assist them to to keep in mind whatever they meant and to comprehend the explanation better,” said Dr Grцppel-Wegener, a bookmaker and printmaker by training. “I thought that, it would not you need to be a thing that is a reference, it might be their own and additionally they may wish to ensure that is stays. if it absolutely was something students could add what to,”

Dr Grцppel-Wegener argued that the book could prove useful across a wide range of subjects.

“People who choose to think visually are not merely found in arts and design,” she said. “There could be more in art and design, but I try to explain things for everybody and hopefully there is a large number of individuals who can react to it.”

Dr Grцppel-Wegener rejected the theory that creating an activity book represented “dumbing down” of academic practice, arguing in a different way”, and that better critical thinking ability would flow from stronger research skills that she was simply “framing it.

But she acknowledged that her approach wouldn’t normally suit every learner.

“once I am teaching, i realize that this process does work for everybody n’t; some individuals don’t essaywriter make use of metaphors after all,” she said. “I always utilize this as you option.”


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