recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : studying   7

How to Read for Grad School | Miriam E. Sweeney
"In graduate school the work load increases and students will find that they are expected to master two to three times the material that they were used to as an undergraduate. This can be intimidating to the point of overwhelming a student into paralysis. Following these tips should help you master your readings instead of allowing the readings to master you!

1. Read Strategically, Not Linearly. Reading for graduate school is different than reading a book for pleasure. When we read for pleasure we often start at the beginning of the book, reading carefully in a linear fashion. If you do this with your academic material, it will take twice as long and it is likely you won’t retain the right kind of information from the reading. Instead of reading linearly, read strategically. As an academic reader your job is to mine the text you are reading for information. Instead of cruising along the narrative, you need to dive in, find the information you need, and move along to the next stack of readings for class.

If you are reading a book this means you should look over the table of contents, then read the entire introduction carefully. In academic books, the introduction is where the author states all of their main points, the framework they will use, and an outline of what information will be covered in each chapter. Next, look over the last chapter. This is the conclusion, which will restate the main arguments of the author and will often contextualize these arguments in a broader context, suggest next steps, or speculate solutions or alternatives. From here you can go to the parts of the book you want deeper knowledge about. Individual chapters will be laid out similarly to the book structure with an introduction, and middle and the conclusion. Skimming the beginning and end of the chapter will give you the main points, then you can gather evidence by browsing the middle parts of the chapter. Remember, you are not really expected to read every single word of the book; your mandate is to understand the author’s main ideas, arguments, and be able to articulate why this discussion matters.

If you are reading a journal article, start by checking the name of the journal that published the article. This will key you in to the scope and boundaries that the article is working within. Next, carefully read the title and the abstract of the piece. A good abstract should clearly explain the main argument of the article, the kind of evidence the author uses, and a succinct conclusion, or what the author found out. Armed with this information, look over the introduction to see how the author is framing their work, paying attention to the citations they use. This tells you who the author is trying to be in dialogue with. Next, flip to the discussion section. Sometimes this is separate than the conclusion, sometimes not, depending on the disciplinary standards of the author and journal. Read the discussion and conclusion carefully. These sections will explain the author’s main arguments and the “why you should care” piece. Now you can go back through the article armed with the knowledge of where the author is leading you and browse over methods and results sections. Pay attention particularly to images and data visualizations. Note how these things relate to or support the discussion and conclusion sections you read.

Reading strategically instead of linearly will make you a more efficient and effective academic reader. Getting familiar with how different formats of writing are structured will give you the confidence and control to find the information you need in them more efficiently.

2. Take Notes! As you are reading strategically, you absolutely must take notes simultaneously. Otherwise it is guaranteed you will not remember the kinds of details you need to recall in class, in your paper, in your own research down the road. Develop a system of your own whether it is sticking a post-it note in the book and jotting something down, or opening up RefWorks or Zotero, or Word and throwing some notes down as you read. Whatever you do, remember that future you will have NO IDEA what present you is thinking, no matter how brilliant a thought it is. Be specific, include detailed citations and pages numbers for direct quotes so you don’t have to chase them later.

If you are reading as preparation for a class, make sure you are also jotting down 3-5 questions, observations, or provocations that you can use in class for participation. In grad school, everyone is expected to participate on a high level, so have something to say ahead of time to avoid the high-blood pressure that comes from your professor’s cold, hard stare.

3. Be purposeful. Being purposeful in your readings means that as you are moving strategically through the text you are also being deliberate about what you want to glean from the reading, what are meant to glean, and how this fits with the other readings and conversations you have had in class, along with your own life experiences. Ask yourself, “What is the author trying to say? What is motivating her exploration of this topic? What does this research contribute? What academic conversations is the author trying to align with? What are the main arguments of this piece? How does this relate to my other assigned readings?” Going in with these questions in mind will focus you as you read and aid you in pulling out the most relevant information.

4. A Critical Perspective. Lastly, applying a critical perspective in your reading is helpful for situating a reading in broader contexts. Contrary to how it sounds, being critical does not simply mean being negative or criticizing wantonly. Critical perspectives are those that trace and name flows of power: Who has power and who does not? Who benefits from particular social arrangements, and whom do they marginalize? Critical perspectives also question assumptions and values that are implicit in arguments: What values are underlying this work? What experiences and perspectives do these values privilege? How might centering different values or experiences re-frame the argument or conversation? Asking questions like this will help you have deeper conversations about your readings, and really, isn’t that the whole point of graduate school?

Time to make your reading work for you- good luck!"
reading  pedagogy  teaching  2012  miriamsweeney  howto  tutorials  studying  notetaking  criticalthinking  gradschool  howtoread  academia  academics 
february 2016 by robertogreco
The Mellow Sounds and Romantic Mood of the French Subjunctive - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"As someone who began his career in poetry, and is constantly telling his kids that language must carry both emotional and literal information, I love the subjunctive. It's like this dark, mysterious, achingly beautiful stranger. Which is different from saying I've mastered or I totally understand it. Mastery isn't the point. This is language study and study--in and of itself--is rewarding.

Part of the problem is that we think of foreign language as something to be conquered, or completed . We grade people in foreign language classes. The net is filled with sites that make claims like "Speak Fluent In French In Three Months!!!!" Everyone--including me--wants to know how long it will take to be fluent. But yesterday my French instructor told me there is no fluency, even she isn't "fluent." This is a person who speaks beautiful, beautiful French. Her point isn't that there is no literal "fluency" but that this isn't the best way to think about language study.'
poetry  language  fluency  2013  ta-nehisicoates  learning  thelearningmind  howwelearn  mood  subjunctive  french  emotion  communication  studying  writing  howwewrite  mastery  subtlety  conveyance 
march 2013 by robertogreco
We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education [Too much to quote]
"I don't think of the distinction btwn readers & nonreaders—better, those who love reading & those who don't so much—in terms of class, which may be a function of my being a teacher of literature rather than a sociologist, but may also be a function of my knowledge that readers can be found at all social stations…much of the anxiety about American reading habits…arises from frustration at not being able to sustain a permanent expansion of "the reading class" beyond what may be its natural limits…

American universities are largely populated by people who don't fit either category [readers & extreme readers]—often really smart people for whom the prospect of several hours attending to words on pages (pages of a single text) is not attractive…

All this is to say that the idea that many teachers hold today, that one of the purposes of education is to teach students to love reading—or at least to appreciate & enjoy whole books—is largely alien to the history of education."
teaching  reading  learning  attention  alanjacobs  nicholascarr  books  academia  extremereaders  autodidacts  concentration  joyofreading  unschooling  deschooling  allsorts  allkindsofminds  2011  clayshirky  stevenpinker  staugustine  virgil  cicero  georgesteiner  annblair  studying  children  sirfrancisbacon  francisbacon  infooverload  filterfailure  text  texts  mariccasaubon  peternorvig  jonathanrose  homer  dante  shakespeare  attentiveness  kindle  hyperattention 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Mind - Research Upends Traditional Thinking on Study Habits - NYTimes.com
[As summarized here: http://o-song.tumblr.com/post/1078261059/social-hitchcock-running-good-skin-labyrinth] "In short: 1) there are no learning styles - you’re better off learning information in a variety of different formats. 2) you learn stuff better if you study in a variety of different places - otherwise your knowledge can get too contextual - you’ll remember it in your study but not in the exam. 3) You’re better off studying a variety of related things rather than focusing hardcore on one thing. 4) If you cram the night before, you’ll do better in the exam but forget it afterwards - if you study over the course of the subject, you’ll do better and remember it." <br />
<br />
[And this, from the article itself] "Some of the most hallowed advice on study habits is flat wrong."
neuroscience  education  learning  psychology  teaching  studying  studyhabits  research  tcsnmy  howwelearn 
september 2010 by robertogreco
What happened to studying? - The Boston Globe [Related: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/8-Theories-on-Why-College-Kids-Are-Studying-Less-4235]
"average student at 4-year college in 1961 studied ~24 hours/week. Today’s average student hits books for just 14 hours…

Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: The central bargain of college education — that students have fairly light classloads because they’re independent enough to be learning outside the classroom — can no longer be taken for granted. & some institutions of higher learning have yet to grapple w/, or even accept, the possibility that something dramatic has happened.

Studying has long been considered a key part of college student’s growth, both as a means to an end — a deeper understanding of subject matter — & as valuable habit in its own right. A person who can self-motivate to learn, academics argue, is not only more likely to be a productive worker, but more fulfilled citizen. As a result, universities for decades have stated—sometimes officially—that for every hour students spend in class each week they are expected to be studying for 2 on their own."
academia  studying  students  learning  college  culture  education  efficiency  technology  pedagogy  teaching  blendedlearning  philosophy  engagement  research  highereducation  highered 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Kicker Studio: Six Questions from Kicker: Tom Igoe
"There are products that I’ve gotten attached to though. I really miss the Macbook 12″ aluminum model. It was the best laptop Apple ever made, & they discontinued it in the name of selling more. That’s total crap to me. Apple could have led the way in service design by saying “We know you love that macbook. Let us put in a new CPU & a nicer screen, maybe clean up the keyboard a bit, & let you keep the basic form.” That would have been kickass. But no, they’re not that innovative.... My undergrad advisor told me “The only thing you need to know as a designer is everything.” I think that’s been good advice, actually, in that the most important tool of a designer is the ability to study & learn. You’re constantly working in domains you’ve never worked in, and you have to approach each one as a novice student, & learn about it before you can design for it. That’s probably the most important thing, I think... You can’t control what people think, you can only guide what they do."
kicker  tomigoe  interviews  design  apple  sustainability  innovation  learning  lifelonglearning  tcsnmy  glvo  lcproject  designthinking  studying  process  howwework  advice  wisdom 
july 2010 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read