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About this book

This concise text will help your students get to grips with the core academic skills they need to succeed at written assignments, including critical thinking, reading, note-making and assignment planning. It also equips students with practical strategies for reflecting on their learning and placement experiences and using observational data from their placements in written assignments. Chapters incorporate subject-specific examples and activities, which make it easier for students to develop these skills and apply them to their own work.
This engaging book will be an essential companion for all students of Education, Childhood Studies and related disciplines.

Table of Contents

Becoming an Education Student

Frontmatter

1. What Should I Be Reading?

Abstract
It hopefully won’t come as too much of a shock to you that a significant amount of your time spent studying your Education degree will involve reading. Traditionally, students referred to themselves as ‘reading for a degree’ – for example, ‘I’m reading History’ – or they might have been asked, ‘What are you reading at university?’ which would have meant, ‘What are you studying?’ While we no longer use this kind of language to refer to our studies, this once commonly used phrase is indicative of the fact that an enormous amount of time needs to be dedicated to reading. In fact, it is probably fair to say that this is the most essential component of studying Education at university. This means that you need to be prepared and well-informed about how to plan and manage your reading, so that you can do this most effectively.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

2. How Should I Be Reading?

Abstract
The previous chapter established that what you read should be your primary consideration, and this chapter supplies you with more detailed and specific strategies so that once you have located the sources you’re going to use, you can use them most effectively.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

3. Taking Notes and Making Notes

Abstract
Whether it’s with a notepad and pen, on a tablet or laptop, you will need to spend time taking notes in lectures, seminars, workshops and also from various sources that you read. Most of this chapter is focused upon traditional notes (i.e. writing text) but also bear in mind that other approaches to condensing information such as drawing mind maps, diagrams or tables, or even recording your own voice (e.g. using a voice memo/recorder facility on your phone or computer) can be good strategies.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

4. Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism

Abstract
Drawing on such literature in your assessed work demonstrates wider reading around a topic and can illustrate your knowledge and understanding. It can also be used as evidence for your viewpoint to help you to support the arguments you’re making in your work. Alongside this comes referencing, which is a central aspect of academic writing. Clearly written and accurate referencing means that there is a trail of information about the different sources of information used within a piece of writing. It means that other readers who are interested in finding out about the original source can easily find it. Referencing the work of others also ensures good practice and academic integrity so that you are not plagiarising other’s work.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

5. Thinking Critically for an Education Degree

Abstract
Critical thinking is a term thrown around a great deal in university courses, and it can be a source of mystery to many students for some time in their studies. This chapter seeks to demystify notions of what critical thinking is (and isn’t) by:
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

Writing as an Education Student

Frontmatter

6. Planning Your Writing

Abstract
The following information in this chapter and in Chapters 7 to 12 will help you to understand what’s involved with academic writing at university. Like with painting or sculpting, writing is a skilled process that takes time and practice to develop.Planning your writing is perhaps the most important stage of the academic writing process. You may have not needed to plan the writing of your assignments in previous stages of your education but as Lecturers in Education we would strongly encourage you to plan your work at university. You’ll need to organise all your thoughts and ideas that you’ve been learning about and developing from your research and reading and planning will help you to do this.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

7. The Characteristics of Academic Writing

Abstract
At university, students are required to write ‘academically’ for a number of different assignments, namely the traditional essay, but also in presentations for example, so it’s a good idea to learn about and understand the characteristics of academic writing. In this chapter we will explore the following to give you guidance to help you understand academic writing at university:
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

8. Structuring and Beginning Your Writing

Abstract
Oftentimes, actually committing text to a document to begin writing an assessed piece of work can be daunting. Chapter 6 introduced you to some of the preparatory stages and planning that you need to undertake when approaching an assignment. This chapter begins to introduce various approaches and strategies that can assist you in organising an assignment in order to get going and actually produce written work.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

9. Different Kinds of Written Assignments

Abstract
Within your Education programme, you are likely to encounter a variety of different kinds of assignments or assessed work. Your programme will have been designed in this way to enable you to gain skills and experience of writing in different kinds of ways for different audiences, and ultimately to prepare you for tasks you may need to undertake in further study or future employment.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

10. Receiving and Using Feedback Effectively

Abstract
You will have received various forms of feedback in your previous education and possibly employment and you will need to be able to respond to it in the future when you are working in your chosen career. This feedback may take many different forms and you need to develop your skills so that you are ready to be able to deal with it, respond to it and act on it. The feedback you receive at university is central to your learning and development. In this chapter we will focus on:
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

Observing and Reflecting as an Education Student

Frontmatter

11. Reflective Writing: Reflecting on Your Own Learning Experiences

Abstract
Like essay writing, reflection is a process that supports our learning process. Key reflection theorists such as Dewey (1933), Kolb (1984) and Schon (1983) proposed that we learn through combinations of thought and action, reflection and practice, theory and application. In fact, the notion of ‘reflective practice’ was developed by Schon (1983) within Nursing and Teacher Education to emphasise the use of reflection within professional practices. In this chapter, we will look at:
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

12. Reflecting on Observed Experiences in Practice

Abstract
Within most educational systems and processes observation of the teaching and learning process has become commonplace. For students of Education, whether your goal is to become a teacher or not, there is perhaps no greater an insightful opportunity than the privilege of observing another educator at work. Most Education programmes incorporate an opportunity for students to spend time in an educational setting not only to provide valuable experience in a sector where they may ultimately be employed in the future, but crucially, to learn the skills of reflection and analysis upon observed experiences.
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup

13. Next Steps: Taking Your Education Degree Forward

Abstract
Whatever stage you’re at in your studies, this chapter is one to read when you’re at a point to engage in reflection about the value of your degree beyond your time at university. It’s never too early to start thinking about your life after graduation, and if you do give your post-graduation plans some thought early on, this will enable you to take advantage of various opportunities throughout your degree that will help to enhance your employability, or make you a stronger candidate for further study or training. This chapter will:
Charlotte Barrow, Rebecca Westrup
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