TU4D Prototype project: Reading skills for first year engagement and the development of research proficiency – A reflection Phase 1 and Phase 2
This project is concerned with the development of critical readings programmes in the three partner Institutons of TU4D. The philosophical position informing this project is that critical reading is an integral element of academic literacy. It is envisaged that the trajectory of the project would be towards the development of integrated programmes where critical reading, critical thinking and critical writing are integrated. The presumption is that the development of critical reading skills will enhance the first year experience and contribute to the development of independent learners who have personal confidence and engagement with the academic process. After due consideration the critical readng team decided that rather than simply collecting a range of resources and initiating critical reading programmes that we develop a research based framework for the development of critical reading programmes for first year students across the three partner Institutions.
It was considered that the project would be enhanced by exploring how lecturers in the three partner Institutions engage with the concept in their practice and what the implications might be for provision of initial and continuing face to face and online support in critical reading provision. Similarly it was thought appropriate to explore how current students of the three partner Institutions over 18 years old currently approach reading difficult texts, what supports are in place to help them and what supports should be provided in the future. This exploration involves the design, delivery and analysis of staff and student surveys and will be further enriched by staff and student focus groups. Phase 1 of the project is now nearing completion.
- A wordpress site
- A number of resources relating to critial reading has been uploaded to our wordpress site including
- online resources pertaining to speed reading and critical reading
- Online journal articles relevant to the delivery and relevance of critcal reading
- Relevant online and hardcopy textbooks relevant to the delivery and understading of critical reading
- Developed processes for hosting online meetings among team members
- Reflections and recommendations for streamlining processes of ethical approval and the disbursement of funds for partners involved in TU4D projects.
- Developed resources and documents for ethical approval
- Completed the development of surveys for delivery to staff and students
Phase Two – Moving Forward
The foundation for moving into phase two has been set and will include the following:
- The distribution of staff and student surveys to relevant constituencies in DIT, ITB and ITT and analysis of same.
- The conduct of focus groups to enrich the dataset from the student and staff surveys.
- The analysis of student and staff surveys and of focus groups.
- The writing of a reflective consideration of the survey and focus groups to inform and develop initial and continuing face to face and online support in critical reading provision. This would involve the delivery of critical reading programmes in each of the institutes informed by these reflections.
- Ongoing development and sharing of pedagogic resources including methods for student engagement on our WordPress site.
- The writing up of the results of the impact of this research in academic journals in terms of the development of self efficacy and self directed learning.
- The exploration in this context of the relationship between information literacy and crital literacy in the context of library research. This project is perceived as cross disciplinary between educational practice and library science and offers the potential for publications in both disciplines.
- The development of these programmes where the links between critical reading, critial thinking and critical writing are more firmly establised.
As a final comment this project has set in place a solid research based framework to inform the development of critcal reading skills programmes across the three partners Institues. The research team believes that this project can provide a valuable contribution to the development of critical reading and critical writing skills among the student population across the TU4D partnership. The value of these programmes is well documented in the academic literature. The need for such progrmmes has recently been suggested by Dr Greg Foley in an article in the Irish Times dated Jan 21 2016. TU4D would be ahead of the curve in the structured development of such programmes within the sector. We would be happy to hear from colleagues who are currently involved or are interested in developing critical reading programmes for their students.
Stage 1: Pilot Study
- Project Plan
- Development of Staff Survey
- Development of Student Survey
- Planning for the Focus Group Interview