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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

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Critical Thinking

Student Development Unit

2005/06

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Welcome!

This booklet contains all the handouts and information that you will need for the Critical Thinking workshop held at the Student Development Unit. As well as the exercises we’ll be working on during the session, you will also find guidance that you can keep for future reference, such as advice on active learning and intelligence, models for critical thinking skills, and questions to help you think critically.

When you are asked to complete an academic assignment, your tutor will be looking for evidence of these three skills:

• Gathering of complex material • Making sense of that complex material • Communicating your understanding of that complex material to an informed reader.[1]

The ‘making sense’ stage is the one we tend to neglect out of fear that we may not have anything of value to contribute. But, as the eminent thinker Edward De Bono puts it: ‘Thinking is a skill that can be improved by training, by practice and through learning how to do it better. Thinking is no different from any other skill and we can get better at the skill of thinking if we have the will to do so.’[2] We hope that this handbook will help you to develop strongly argued and well-structured pieces of work, and encourage you to build critical thinking into every aspect of your academic life.

Be prepared to make some changes to how you work – if you always do things in the same way, you’ll keep getting the same results. We need to change our actions to change our outcomes. Start with some small adjustments and see what a difference they make…

Many of the hints and exercises are taken from Stella Cottrell’s The Study Skills Handbook (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003), and I recommend it to you as a highly useful resource.
Good luck with your work!

Dr Tracy Johnson, Skills Development Officer
Critical Thinking and Analysis

If you have another look at the three main skills being tested when you write an essay, you may notice that the one we tend to neglect is making sense of and thinking about the material that we gather. A typical approach to putting together an essay goes something like this:

• Receive essay question • Ignore essay question for a while • Realise there are only a few days left until essay is due in • Hit the library and get on the Internet, taking copious notes • Sit with blank screen and pile of notes • Panic • Painstakingly produce your work, sentence by painful sentence • Print it off, check for obvious mistakes • Hand it in and hope for the best

Alternatively, you may have started your research when you received the question, but the last six steps may still be the same… When your essay is returned to you with feedback, one of the most commonly cited comments from tutors is, ‘not enough critical analysis’. What makes the difference between a 2:2 and a 2:1? Critical analysis and evaluation of other arguments, rather than just the reproduction of them in your work, is what your tutor wants to see.

The Cognitive Domains

All university syllabuses are produced within the context of six ‘cognitive domains’, or intellectual abilities. From the simplest to the most complex, they look like this:

1. Recall 2. Comprehension 3. Application 4. Analysis 5. Synthesis 6. Evaluation[3]
What Do They Want From Me?

At school the recall and reproduction of information may well have been what gained you marks. The difference in higher education is that it is your skills and not your memory that is being tested. There are no ‘right’ answers. You are expected to look at both the black and the white, and then to distinguish between the shades of grey.

What you must keep in mind at all times is that simply restating other people’s arguments without commenting on them yourself will not gain you the high marks you desire. The ability to bring together information and argument and convincingly provide your own interpretation of them (synthesis and evaluation) is what will push you up the mark scale:

‘It is never a question of coming to the ‘right’ answer (though you can expect a tutor to defend his or her position if it differs from yours) but rather of demonstrating that you understand what the issue is about and that you can produce a well-reasoned, balanced and critical argument concerning it.’[4]

It is very important for the academic rigour of your work that critical evaluation is intrinsic to the entire essay writing process, from interpreting the question to checking the quality of your argument in the final revisions. Adopting a critical attitude throughout means that you are ‘rehearsing’ and testing your arguments all the time, and this means that your final essay draft will be more polished and intellectually sophisticated by the time your tutor approaches it with their red pen.

You may find the prospect of critically evaluating the arguments of academics rather daunting, but this is exactly what you are being asked to do. Remember that there is a big difference between being critical in a negative way – not what we want you to do – and being critical in terms of analysing the components of arguments, their strength and their relationships with each other: rather like surveying a house, checking it for cracks and then comparing it with other houses in the same street.

Understanding Critical Analysis

What is ‘critical analysis’?

In the workshop, discuss the following questions in small groups, or use them by yourself to establish your understanding of critical analysis.

1. What do you understand by the terms ‘critical’ and ‘analytical’ in an academic context?

2. What are your feelings about critical and analytical work?

3. Is this an aspect of your study that you find interesting, easy or difficult?[5]

Critical or Analytical?

We can sum up ‘critical thinking’ by stating that it involves weighing up arguments for and against, evaluating the quality of a piece of evidence and looking at its possible implications: where the viewpoint leads you; the conclusions that could be drawn; does the viewpoint need to be reconsidered?

However, analytical thinking involves additional processes that are complementary to adopting a critical approach. To be analytical means:

• Standing back from the information given • Examining it in detail from many angles • Checking closely whether it is completely accurate • Checking the logical progression of an argument • Looking for flaws in reasoning, evidence or conclusions drawn • Comparing the same issue from the point of view of different theorists or writers • Being able to see and explain why different people arrive at different conclusions • Being able to argue why one set of opinions or conclusions is preferable to another • Being on guard for devices that encourage you not to question given information • Checking for hidden assumptions • Checking for attempts to lure the reader into agreement[6]

If this all sounds like a tall order, remember that your thinking skills can be developed through practice and a bit of application. Try to develop a list of questions or a framework to help you get to grips with academic reading. But don’t stop being critical and analytical when your studying is over – ask questions about assumptions implicit in the world around you: in films you watch, or novels and newspapers you read. We’ll look more at this later on.

Critical Writing and Critical Listening

We’ve already looked at critical analysis in terms of reading other people’s arguments. How would you be critical and analytical when writing or listening? What questions would you need to ask?

Writing

Critical thinking when writing involves similar processes to those used when reading:

1. Being clear what your conclusions are 2. Showing a clear line of reasoning 3. Presenting evidence to support your reasoning 4. Reading your own writing critically, as well as that of your sources 5. Viewing your subject from multiple perspectives 6. Writing in a critical, analytical style, rather than descriptively

Listening

Check for the same issues as when reading, plus: 1. Does the speaker contradict herself? If so, what is going on beneath that contradiction? 2. Check that body language, eye contact, and speed and tone of voice are consistent. Does the speaker seem to believe in what they are saying?

General Critical Questions

More generally, when working in a critical way you will be asking such questions as: • Why? How far? How often? How much? To what extent? • How do we know this to be true? How reliable is the source? • What could be going on beneath the surface? • What do we not know about this? • What is not being said? • Which argument is preferable? • For what reasons?[7]

Intelligence and Learning

It takes confidence to start questioning the viewpoints and arguments of an academic authority, as well as conviction to stand by your own. Many of us believe that we are not really clever enough to be at university, and that one day someone will unmask us a fraud. Or, you could be doing really well in your assignments, but you don’t understand why you getting good marks or how you can keep improving. To start being critical and analytical, we all need two things: a bit of self-belief and the right environment in which to learn. Many of us have never really been taught ‘how to learn’ and it is this fundamental skill that underpins your ability to develop your intelligence and quality of thought.

If you were pigeonholed at school as not being ‘academic’, or if you have moments of self-doubt, remember:

• Intelligence is not a ‘fixed’ quality – you can keep growing • There are multiple intelligences, not just academic ones. Are you ‘emotionally intelligent’ (good at being sensitive to other people’s needs), spatially aware (great at parking a car), musical, bodily-kinaesthetic (good at dance or sport), or intrapersonally intelligent (reflective and self aware)? • Intelligence can depend on life opportunities – easy access to books, time to study quietly, encouragement and validation of your thoughts by others • Intelligence in one area can be applied to other contexts, giving yourself stepping stones to new learning experiences • Intelligence is not about how much you know • IQ tests do not measure creativity, emotional maturity, intuition and other important skills • Intelligence can be developed through effective study habits and study skills.[8] • There are many different learning styles. Have a look on the Internet for learning styles questionnaires and see which one is yours, as well as how you can appreciate others.

Critical or Creative?

Can I be critical and creative at the same time?

Says De Bono, ‘“Critical” comes from the Greek word kritikos which means judge. While judgement thinking has its place and its value, it lacks generative, productive, creative and design aspects of thinking which are so vital. Six brilliantly trained critical thinkers sitting around a table cannot get going until someone actually puts forward a constructive proposal. This can then be criticised by all.

Many of the present problems around the world persist because traditional education has mistakenly believed that analysis, judgement and argument are enough.

[…] Critical thinking does have a part to play because if you know your hypothesis is going to be criticised then you seek to make it stronger. But critical destruction of one hypothesis has never produced a better one. It is creativity that produces the better hypothesis.’[9]

Why Do I Need to Be A Creative Thinker?

You not only need to be able to critically analyse the ideas of others, but also to produce ideas of your own. If you are not thinking creatively around your topic, how can you get the essay process started? Ask yourself:

• What techniques do I use when interpreting essay questions? • How do I decide what my approach will be? • How do I ‘brainstorm’ the concepts and ideas that I will pursue through my research? • How do I develop and extend the ideas that I come across?

If you don’t define the scope of your essay before you start reading, your critical thinking will be hijacked by the arguments of others. Start thinking on your own before you start any research.

Creative Thinking Tools

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping is an ideas-generating technique popularised by Tony Buzan. Because you are working with diagrams and images, this technique can stimulate both sides of your brain and get you thinking more creatively. It also helps you to see connections between ideas and group them effectively. Mind Mapping has many applications and is becoming increasingly popular in business as a problem-solving tool. For more information see Buzan’s books or go to http://www.mind-map.com for more information and examples.

PMI

You will find this technique in Edward De Bono’s Thinking Course. To ‘do a PMI’ take any idea and list its Plus (good) points, its Minus (bad) points, and its Interesting points. The exercise should only take a few minutes and is a quick way to focus your attention. It also helps you to consider an idea from different perspectives, rather than just from one prejudged angle. If you are interested in more of De Bono’s work, then have a look at his Lateral Thinking and Six Thinking Hats books, too.

You Find What You Are Looking For

Right now, find three round things in the room. Now find three things that are ‘open’. You will find that the room is suddenly filled with these things. If you look for new ways of doing things, or for specific answers and evidence, you will find them too when you are engaged in research. We can all usually find evidence to support a viewpoint, once we know what that viewpoint is.

You Are The Professor!

When you can’t think of a way of doing a piece of work or can’t seem to generate any fresh ideas, imagine that you are the expert in your field. Experts don’t find solving problems easy, but they are open to dealing with challenging tasks. Find your ‘internal professor’ and let them solve your problems. This breaks your usual thinking patterns and encourages your imagination.

Be Curious About What You Don’t Know

Creative people are curious people. They want to find out more and relate their new discoveries to what they already know. It is difficult to be creative if you are frightened of the unknown. Be open to the curious child inside you who wants to try everything!

Break Your Routines

When you take a different route, even if it is not the quickest way, you discover new things of interest. Take a few minutes to examine your routines. Ask: • Why am I doing it this way? • Have the original reasons now changed? • How else could I do things?
Remember: if you keep doing things in the same way, then you’ll get the same results. If you want to develop, try making some changes and see what happens!

How Would Someone Else Do It?

Ask yourself, how would Pablo Picasso approach this study problem? Mozart? Nelson Mandela? A politician? Your favourite actor? Your internal professor? Whose approach would most help and inspire you? It can be very useful to model someone you admire (how they behave, what their reactions might be, how they present themselves), and then use this model to build your own confidence and see problems from a different perspective.[10]

If any of the above exercises seem a bit flaky, or you’re not sure how using your imagination can help your studies (pretending to be Robert de Niro to work out an essay plan, perhaps…), then bear in mind that Einstein claims to have come up with his ideas on the relativity of time and space while he was daydreaming that he was riding on a sunbeam![11] Inspiration can strike if we think laterally or from a different perspective, so give it a try.

Critical Analysis in Action

Rochborough Health

‘Outdoor play has beneficial effects for children in terms of both their health and their levels of social interaction. According to clinical trials carried out by Rochborough’s Health Council Advisory Body in September this year, children who played outside for over fifty days in the year had a 20% higher lung capacity, and 30% lower incidence of asthma and bronchial conditions than children who played indoors. Children who played outdoors also reported having more friends than those who played indoors. A survey of 30 families by Rochborough Social Amenities Committee found that parents were more likely to let their children play outdoors if they had their own gardens or if there were supervised play areas nearby. Mr Arkash of Milton Road said his children did not feel safe playing on the Children’s Meadow on the outskirts of Rochborough, as his son had been frightened by a fox there in the past. His little son looked quite tearful as his father spoke. ‘He often cries because he has nowhere to play,’ said his father. Supervised play areas can be expensive to provide. However, only 18% of homes in Rochborough have gardens. Therefore, to improve the health of all its children, Rochborough needs to provide more supervised outdoor play areas.’

Rochborough Playcouncil Newsletter

Exercise

Read through the passage above. In your small groups, answer the questions below. Be prepared to discuss your analysis of the passage with the whole group.

• Identify the main line of reasoning – what is the writer’s main point of view? • What are the propositions that make up the writer’s viewpoint? • Is there a logical progression of these propositions? • Are there any false premises or flawed reasoning? • Evaluate the quality of the evidence and how it is used • Identify the writer’s conclusions • Evaluate whether the evidence supports the conclusions.[12]

Ideology and Influence

What informs the way we read and write?

When we read, whether the purpose is for pleasure or for study, we tend to assume that we are going to learn something about the world, or about the human condition, and probably to discover some kind of ‘truth’ that we think the writer wants to communicate to us. The problem with this approach is that we can often get stuck in one of those lower cognitive domains where we are seeking knowledge and assume that the authority presenting this knowledge to us is ‘right’ and should not be questioned.

Particularly when we are reading for pleasure, we often ‘switch off’ our critical faculties to better enhance our sense of escapism, or to be better entertained. But even the most popular of fictions that we may choose to relax with, such as J.K. Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith or Patricia Cornwell, for example, can all be read critically – they all have something to tell us about the cultural, political and historical conditions in which these texts were produced. We say ‘produced’ because approaching a piece of writing critically, whether it’s fiction, journalism, an academic essay or even a piece of advertising, means accepting it as something artificial: something that has been purposely constructed by an individual or a number of individuals working together in order to create specific effects or meanings in the reader.

What may also become apparent to you is that writing is often informed by someone’s political standpoint. To put this more generally, writing is frequently informed by our particular point of view or belief system - what we call ideology. That doesn’t have to be an overtly political or religious mindset: the way in which we were brought up, our personal values, those of our parents, our education, the people we choose as friends all have a bearing on the way in which we use and interpret language. That means that we need to be aware of our own opinions and assumptions when we read and interpret any text because we are never approaching it with our minds open; we always already have a number of ‘presuppositions’. As Robert Eaglestone puts it: ‘Your interpretation will be affected by the context in which you read and the expectations you have of the text.’[13] To sum up, then, we must get away from the notion that any text can be appreciated entirely objectively. No interpretation is objective because it will inevitably be informed by your experiences and assumptions.

These points may be more straightforward to grasp if you are a student in the arts and humanities disciplines, but science texts are also involved in the act of interpreting our place in the world. For example, the impact of the work of Charles Darwin had a profound effect on the way we perceived ourselves as human beings; thinking of ourselves as animals deeply challenged the Christian idea of the creation of Adam and Eve.

Another example of critical thinking through science is in a book called Lifelines (1997) by Steven Rose. ‘Five scientists are having a picnic by a pool when they see a frog jump. They ask themselves why. One says that it is because the frog saw a snake, passed a signal from its brain to its legs and contracted its muscles to jump and escape. The second says that this process must be seen in a wider environmental context: the frog desires to avoid being eaten. The third points out that it can only jump because, as it grew up from a tadpole, it developed the muscles, nerves and so on to enable it to jump. A fourth argues that it jumped because, through evolutionary selection, its species had adapted to escape successfully from snakes. The final biologist takes a chemical view: the frog jumped because of a chemical reaction in its muscles […]. None of these different interpretations of why the frog jumped – physiological, contextual, developmental, evolutionary, and biochemical – are incorrect. But each depends on different presuppositions in the act of interpreting, as each biologist has a different interest and point of view. An awareness of the different contexts and presuppositions – hermeneutics – is as important for science as it is for literary [or other] study.’[14]

So, the next time you pick up a novel or go to the cinema, think for a few moments beforehand about what you are expecting from that book or film. Afterwards, spend some time reflecting on whether your expectations were confirmed or challenged. How? What effect has this had on your own ideology? Prepare to think differently and to question what you see…
Critical Analysis Exercise – The Media

The following articles on the state of school meals in the UK both appeared in online versions of popular national newspapers on Tuesday 6th of October. The first is taken from The Guardian and the second from the Daily Mail. Critically evaluate and compare these two articles on a similar news item. Do their viewpoints contrast? Do they use language and information differently? What is the point of each article? Take into account the politics of each paper – if you don’t know what they are try to guess from the language and tone of the articles.

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£266m gap in cost of improving school meals

· Government cash fails to match panel's guidelines
· Parents may have to pay more for healthier menus

Felicity Lawrence, consumer affairs correspondent
Tuesday October 4, 2005
The Guardian

The government's much-vaunted programme for improving school food has only been granted half the money it needs, according to the review panel set up by Ruth Kelly, the education secretary, after the Jamie Oliver television series.
Last spring the government promised £220m to improve food served in schools, but tough new standards, recommended by the panel in its report published yesterday and agreed by Ms Kelly, will cost about £486m to implement, leaving a gap of £266m. Suzi Leather, who chaired the review panel, said: "There is clearly a gap between what [accountants] have told us about the cost and what the government has publicly committed.
"The cost of school meals to parents will rise, but the rise cannot be too steep, which is why we have said the secretary of state should look very hard at the impact on low-income families."
The panel's full report makes 35 detailed recommendations on transforming school meals, from rebuilding kitchens to bringing practical cooking back on to the national curriculum and making local authorities and caterers account more clearly for the money they spend on food.
Identifying which foods are nutritionally too poor for children to eat every day is a first for a government-commissioned report.
Until now the food industry has argued that there are no bad foods, only bad diets.
The panel, which was made up of teachers, consumer groups, public health organisations, unions, caterers and local authority representatives, also proposes tough new standards on the nutritional content of school food.
But it says the sort of sudden change Oliver introduced in his series could lead to a fall in numbers of children eating school dinners that would threaten the viability of the service.
It recommends instead a phased transition to healthier food. Unhealthy foods, including confectionery and break bars, sugary or artificially sweetened drinks, snack food such as crisps, and cheap processed meats, will have to be removed from schools by September 2006.
But primary schools will have until September 2008, and secondaries until 2009, to meet standards that stipulate how much fat, sugar, fibre, protein, and vitamins and minerals meals should contain.
While the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has said that 50p in primaries and 60p in secondaries should be the minimum spent on ingredients, the report calculates that implementing these new nutritional standards will require at least 70p and 80p respectively.
The panel also decided that the notion that children should be allowed a choice in school should be overturned.
Ms Kelly said the report represented a "golden opportunity to make a real difference to a service which has suffered from decades of neglect".
An audit of all schools would begin next week to find out how much they were spending on ingredients, how many pupils eat school meals and who provides them - information the panel found the government lacks.
Commenting on the gap in funding, a DfES spokesman said it was taking a "partnership approach to funding. Local authorities and schools will also want to contribute from their own budgets".
Main points
Nutrition: Meals will have to meet 14 "nutrient-based" standards, such as how much fat, sugar, protein, and fibre they contain
Vending machines: Powers to control standards should be extended to tuck shops and vending machines
Cookery lessons: Children should be taught practical cookery
Kitchens: Schools should aim to prepare a hot meal on site from fresh, seasonal produce, procured locally
Staff: New training and qualifications for dinner ladies and cooks, more staff and extra hours
Inspection: A national audit of the school meals service will begin next week. Schools will have to assess themselves on food this term, with fuller inspection of meals to follow.

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Pupils may be kept in to stop them buying chips

by SARAH HARRIS, Daily Mail 07:46am 4th October 2005
Pupils could be stopped from leaving school at lunchtimes to prevent them visiting chip shops and fast food restaurants, it has emerged.
The proposal, outlined by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, is among a range of measures aimed at improving healthy eating.
Other suggestions include telling parents what to put in packed lunches and teaching pupils how to cook healthy meals.
The report, by the Government's school meals review panel, follows last week's pledge to ban burgers, fizzy drinks and sweets from canteens and vending machines.
It came as Mrs Kelly revealed the results of a Food Standards Agency survey of pupils' eating habits that showed half chose burgers and chips. Only 2 per cent chose fruit.
But heads warned that schools would not have enough money to implement the plans.
Can pupils be banned from leaving the school gate? Tell us your view using the reader comments link at the bottom of the page
Most schools kept pupils on the premises during breaks until the late 1980s, when a change in teachers' conditions meant heads had to pay them for lunchtime supervision.
Rising costs meant many had little option but to allow pupils to leave. Heads are now being urged to develop 'whole school' policies covering food brought into school by pupils and that bought outside during breaks.
Doubts over funding
The Department for Education and Skills is now "inviting views on advice to parents on healthy lunch boxes or even imposing restrictions on pupils leaving school at lunchtime".
But the Government cannot force heads to clamp down.
There were also questions last night over the funding needed to change menus and upgrade facilities, let alone pay for more supervision.
The review panel estimates that its blueprint will cost schools and local authorities £486million to implement in the first three years. But Ministers have allocated only £220million this year.
The report urges Ministers to ensure kitchens are given priority for money already set aside to improve school buildings. The new cash could also be used to improve training for dinner ladies.
Difficult to enforce
Anne Welsh, headmistress of George Stephenson High School in Newcastle upon Tyne, says she already keeps around 600 pupils from 11 to 14 on the premises at lunch. She aims to extend the scheme to pupils aged 14 to 16, but says that could be a struggle as the supervision bill for the younger students alone is £40,000 a year.
Mrs Welsh, a former president of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "I have always been of the view that heads are the people that make these kinds of decisions.
"But any backing the Government can give us is helpful because not all parents think it's a good idea to keep their children on site."
John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association, said the plan would be difficult to enforce.
"There's nothing teachers would like better than to keep everyone on the premises," he said. "But most large schools have many exits and entrances which cannot all be policed throughout the lunch period."
Other proposals by the panel include making schools provide at least two portions of fruit and vegetables per child per day, serve oily fish on a regular basis and give easy access to fresh drinking water by September next year.
Pupils could also be given practical cooking lessons to show the importance of a balanced diet. Home economics began to disappear as a subject with the launch of the national curriculum in 1988.
Can pupils be banned from leaving the school gate? Tell us your view using the reader comments link at the bottom of the page
This story first appeared in the [pic]. For more great stories like this, buy the Daily Mail every day.
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Further Reading & Help

Books

- Buzan, Tony, How to Mind Map: The Ultimate Thinking Tool That Will Change Your Life (London: Harpercollins, 2002)
- Cotttrell, Stella, The Study Skills Handbook (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003)
- Crème, Phyllis and Mary R. Lea, Writing At University: A Guide For Students (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1997)
- De Bono, Edward, Edward De Bono’s Thinking Course (Bath: BBC Books, 2004)
- Drew, Sue and Rosie Bingham, The Student Skills Guide (London: Gower, 2001)
- Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (London: Bloomsbury, 1996)
- Greetham, Bryan, How to Write Better Essays (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001)
- http://www.palgrave.com/skills4study/html/index.asp An online selection from Palgrave’s many student guides.

Help at Bristol University

Student Development Unit http://www.ubu.org.uk/main/activities/StudentDevelopment
Training and personal development courses available free to all students

Student Skills Directory http://www.bris.ac.uk/studentskills/new_index_html
Find and book onto a range of courses, or try out some useful resources.

Essay Writing Skills Grammar Tutorial www.ole.bris.ac.uk A useful self-paced tutorial available on the University’s Blackboard service.

-----------------------
[1] Moira Peelo, Helping Students With Study Problems (Society for Research into Higher Education: Buckingham, 1994), p. 70.
[2] Edward De Bono, Edward De Bono’s Thinking Course (Bath: BBC Books, 2004), p. 11.
[3] Bryan Greetham, How to Write Better Essays (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001), p.63.
[4] Eric Eve, A Guide for Perplexed Students, 4: Tutorial Essays (Oxford: University of Oxford, 2000), pp. 3-4, cited in Greetham, p. 64.
[5] Stella Cottrell, Teaching Study Skills and Supporting Learning (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001), p. 308.
[6] Cottrell, The Study Skills Handbook, (Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003), p. 221.
[7] Cottrell, Study Skills Handbook, p. 222.
[8] Adapted from Cottrell, Study Skills Handbook, pp. 45-52.
[9] De Bono, p. 15.
[10] Ideas (except PMI and Mind Mapping) taken from Cottrell, Study Skills Handbook, pp. 60-61.
[11] Ibid. p. 51.
[12] Adapted from Cottrell, Study Skills Handbook, 223-229.
[13] Robert Eaglestone, Doing English (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 8.
[14] Ibid.

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...Effective Study Skills are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education. A sound education is the process where knowledge, skills, and values are shared and taught to others. This then helps to educate students and therefore enables them to succeed in their studies. Study skills are the sole foundation for a sound education as without them it would impossible for the student to discover how they learn best and which styles suit their needs when studying. Environment and time management are just two of the many factors that are crucial for any student to study effectively and achieve their goals. (Wikipedia, 2011). Environment management is a crucial part of study skills because it sets your mood for studying. Some students prefer music or noise to shut out everyday thoughts so they can concentrate on the project at hand. Others like quiet settings with a suitable room temperature depending on the individual’s preferences. “Based on your preferences, you should schedule your most challenging classes and intense study sessions in the environments that best match your needs” (Keeley, 1999). If the environment is right the student can achieve effective study time where they achieve the maximum level of knowledge that they possibly can. This therefore enables the student to achieve a sound education in a relaxed and positive way. If the environment is wrong it can result in the student being unable to concentrate and therefore not achieving a sound education as they are unable......

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...Effective study skills are the sole foundation of a sound education. What are study skills? They are different approaches applied to learning they are essential for successful grades for schools and colleges. They help you to learn and study the right way by studying a subject correctly using study skills you can only improve on the subject. Before starting out on a course generally one would not possess much knowledge of study skills but by Learning about learning one would feel that studying has become easier. By following tips and reading manuals personal progress would flow more fluently in study. "Seven approaches to learning, Learning can be an adventure, Use many senses, Identify what attracts you, use active learning, to take responsibility for your learning ,trust in your own intelligence and to personalize your learning" .(Cotterall, 2013). These headings are the Imperative to studying and they give a positive foundation. Study skills as a sole foundation to a person that is completing a course on-line are invaluable as there is no lectures as such. The person has to manage e time and source all information themselves so having a good study structure in place is important. You must learn to discipline your study habits set up a schedule and keep to a rosta or timetable just as you would if you were attending a regular day time college. If one does not have good study skills it is more difficult to sustain any information. One will not move forward with a......

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“Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education”

...Portfolio Task: Module 1 (499 words) Study the following phrase and then write a properly referenced academic essay to discuss it. “Effective Study Skills are the sole foundation of a sound education” Effective study is a tool that allows you to understand how to approach learning, how to work out a strategy for learning and understanding the information in the most effective way. How to create the right environment, how to manage time and how to identify your learning style. It allows you to identify your weaknesses, different distractions that stop your study, if you are in the right frame of mind and how to get the most out of your time by having the ability to recognise all of the above. Creating the right environment to get you into study mode – what setting suites you best? Do you listen to music to enable your study, do you study better alone or with company, have you got a drink and all your resources and do you prefer to be at home or in an internet café or library for example? Managing time – have you allowed enough time for study, some topics will take longer than others? Have you scheduled time for relaxation, home, work and family life? Can you manage your time or do you need to identify your weaknesses to enable you to reach your goals? Be specific with your time, allow time for unplanned situations that may arise and is study better during the day, morning or evening. Studying while tired will be ineffective. Learning style – what is...

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Effective Study Skills Are Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...Effective Study Skills are Sole Foundation of a Sound Education. Background reading – extracts from literature. Collins English Dictionary Home Edition 2009 page 223 defines “Effective” an adjective meaning:- 1 Producing a desired result 2 officially coming into operation 3 impressive. “Study” in the Collins English Dictionary Home Edition 2009 page 757, defines the word as a verb. 1 to be engaged in the learning or understanding of (a subject). 2. To investigate or examine (something) by observation and research. 3 to look at (something or someone) closely; scrutinize. Skill: - according to Collins English Dictionary Home Edition 2009 page 710 means 1 special ability or expertise enables one to perform an activity very well. 2 something, such as a trade, requiring special training or expertise. (Old Norse skill distinction). Foundation in Collins English Dictionary Home Edition 2009 page 291 regarding learning, states “1 the basic experience, idea, or attitude on which a way of life or belief is based”. Studying effectively, ideally, needs several skills. Stella Cottrell in The Study Skills Handbook, third edition (Palgrave Macmillan) 2008 chapter 4 page 55, talks about the C.R.E.A.M strategy for learning. C.R.E.A.M. as Cottrell describes, (“Stella Cottrell the Study Skills Handbook chapter 4 pages 55”) stands for C. - Creative Have the confidence to use your individual strategies and styles, applying imagination to your......

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...Module 500 words Effective Study Skills Are The Sole Foundation of a Sound Education Effective study skills are the skills which are needed to enable efficient learning and are an important set of life skills, which help to get an understanding of the information in the most efficient way. As stated by Adams and Hamm (1994) are paths which lead to the learning.” They are vital for success in schools and further education. Rwehumbiza maintains that most students fail in examinations simply because they lack study skills and, or examination taking techniques. Effective learning depends on creating an environment that is the best to get the individual into study mode and which settings suit them best. Management of time is important. Has the individual allowed enough time to study. Having the right frame of mind, the right conditions, the materials and information needed and no distractions. Considering and developing attitudes that make learning more interesting. Cottrell encourages the use of the C.R.E.A.M strategy, which helps with motivation and attitudes. Looking at each of these areas in depth might give the individual skills and strategies they might find effective,or weaknesses that can be identified and dealt with. C-Creative Have the confidence to apply imagination to your learning and problem-solving. R-Reflective Be able to sit with your experience, analyse and evaluate your own performance, and draw lessons from it. E-Effective Organise your......

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...Effective study skills are the sole foundation of a sound education The definition of a sound education can vary between individuals. Some would say a sound education consisted of solely completing compulsory education and others would see it as achieving a higher education. How one succeeds in education will vary through individuals. People have different methods of learning and will achieve the best results in their own way of studying. The foundation of a sound education are the years spent building a platform to have the ability to work efficiently from. In the early stages of child development one would not expect an infant to study or indeed have any skills to do so. Paiget has entitled four different stages of learning. 'Sensory motor, pre-operational, concrete operations and formal operations'. These stages of development will have been taught via many different methods which will not involve studying. The way in which people learn can be majorly affected throughout life for a number of different reasons, one being their parenting. Robson (1996) maintains that parental involvement can result in an increase in knowledge, skills and confidence. A students peers can have a both positive and negative effect. In its most destructive mode, the peer group can demand blind obedience to a group norm, which can result in socially alienated gangs with pathological outlooks (Perry, 1987). The academic level of a school in which is attended can also have an effect on......

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''Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education "

...ESSAY WRITING ''Effective study skills are the sole foundation of a sound education" The title of this essay could suggest that by applying the correct methods, habits and practices to the learning experience (study skills) and by developing these through practice and reflection that this in itself provides the exclusive means of progress in learning. Gettinger and Seibert (2002) reiterate that study skills are essential to any academic subject and successful outcomes are achieved by a wide variety of students employing them. By having the appropriate knowledge and applying effective study skills thereafter, the results are more likely to be favorable. Paradoxically, students may go through school with a sound level of a knowledge but experience difficulties due to not having the right study skills. (Stella Cottrell 4th edition) Covers many of these learning skills such as Be Organised This covers all areas for study such as looking at your time and how you organise it, your space to study in ensuring that is quite and you will not be disturbed, your literature, notes and files on your PC or mobile device where they are how they are all stored and in a place that you can find them. Keep Motivated This would involve setting goals short and long term in order to stay focused and achieves a feeling of reward for those milestones that are achieved. Staying positive as thinking negatively can erode away any confidence you may have to...

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...PORTFOLIO ESSAY: Module 1 EFFECTIVE STUDY SKILLS ARE THE SOLE FOUNDATION OF A SOUND EDUCATION? This essay will define what study skills are and how these aid learning. Issues relating to difficulties in adapting study skills will be discussed, and how effective study skills can give foundation to a successful education and future. Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning (Wikipedia, 2012). Anderson (2002), describes study skills as processes of meta-cognition, which is self-awareness of one’s thinking and learning. Learners who are able to step back and monitor their thinking and learning are able to use strategies for finding out or figuring out what they need to do. These strategies help students organize, process, and use information effectively (Kerka, 2007). Petty (2002), states that most study skills teaching have positive effects, but some skills work better than others. Research shows that students who are strategic learners for example who know there are multiple ways to do things have increased self-esteem, become more responsible, improve completion and accuracy of their work, and are more engaged in learning, also improving their performance (Beckman, 2002). Higher education expects students to have the maturity to work on their own for longer, this could feel as though study lacks structure which could......

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation Fo a Sound Education.

... (500 words) Study the following phrase and then write a properly referenced academic essay to discuss it. “Effective study skills are the sole foundation of a sound education” This essay will explore the effective study skills that are essential to a good education. The term study skills are defined in Wikipedia (2012) as” techniques to assist the individual to be an effective learner “. Although some students may naturally possess good study skills, most people do not. Although (Cottrell 2008) goes on to explain “a skill is a learned activity, something that can be developed through practice”. Key skills are a range of essential skills, understanding these skills will help to make students more effective in their studies.(Scheid 1993) Research done over the last twenty years provides evidence on effectiveness on study skills, encouraged students to become more independent and gain confidence with a better outcome at school and in the work place . In a world where you need to keep learning throughout your life developing skills could be argued that this is one of the most valuable investments you can make.(Burns T 2012). To develop good study skills it is important to understand which of your personal qualities are of particular importance (Cottrell 2013) determination, self-awareness, positive thinking is among some. To understand what kind of learner you are, will improve your study skills. (Beckford 2006/7)Is of the opinion that good study skills will make you......

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Effective Study Skills Are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education

...“Effective study skills are the soul foundation of a sound education” The title of this essay could suggest that by applying the correct methods, habits and practices to the learning experience (study skills) and by developing these through practice and reflection that this in itself provides the exclusive means of progress in learning. Wikipedia (2013) suggests “Any skill which boosts a person’s ability to study and pass exams can be termed a study skill.” We may define a skill as the ability to perform a learned activity and then develop this through practice and reflection. However, the temptation may be too narrowly define the acquisition of a particular skill say, being able to achieve a good mark in an essay, as an end in itself. Consequently, it may be better to perceive study skills as part of a wider process of learning which contains other aspects for consideration so the student may be able to achieve a greater perspective and understanding. Burns et al (2000) suggests that the student needs to combine and integrate different elements in order to learn. This may for instance involve developing a positive attitude for self-motivation which has been built upon a reflective sense of self-awareness which measures personal potential, both strengths and weaknesses, or a self-belief which encourages the desire to succeed. Potter (2011) suggests that a grasp of key study skills gives a student greater confidence, insight and efficiency which would also be another......

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...Effective Study Skills Are The Sole Foundation Of a Sound Education. In: Miscellaneous Effective Study Skills Are The Sole Foundation Of a Sound Education. Effective Study Skills are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education. A sound education is the process where knowledge, skills, and values are shared and taught to others. This then helps to educate students and therefore enables them to succeed in their studies. Study skills are the sole foundation for a sound education as without them it would impossible for the student to discover how they learn best and which styles suit their needs when studying. Environment and time management are just two of the many factors that are crucial for any student to study effectively and achieve their goals. (Wikipedia, 2011). Environment management is a crucial part of study skills because it sets your mood for studying. Some students prefer music or noise to shut out everyday thoughts so they can concentrate on the project at hand. Others like quiet settings with a suitable room temperature depending on the individual’s preferences. “Based on your preferences, you should schedule your most challenging classes and intense study sessions in the environments that best match your needs” (Keeley, 1999). If the environment is right the student can achieve effective study time where they achieve the maximum level of knowledge that they possibly can. This therefore enables the student to achieve a sound education in a relaxed and......

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Effective Study Skills Foundation to Sound Education

...Portfolio Task: Module 1 (Word count 500 words) Study the following phrase and then write a properly referenced academic essay to discuss it. “Effective Study Skills are the Sole Foundation of a Sound Education” Research shows that effective study skills are the sole foundation to a sound education. Study Skills defined as ‘study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, and considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one's life.’ (www.wikipedia.org 10 Sept 2012) Research by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford suggest there are four categories of learners; Activist, Pragmatist, Theorist, and Reflector. Each individual learns things in different ways, so not all study skills will be effective for all learners. You have the Pragmatist learner who tends to learn more efficiently by carrying out practical tasks. So sitting down and reading information will not be most effective for them. This is not to say an individual cannot develop their learning style so other types of study skills can start to work for them. Cottrell suggests that ‘if you don’t do so already, start to read the quality newspapers. Jot down key points for one thing you read.’ (Cottrell, 2008) The person who is referred to as a Reflector tends to learn best by watching others and are given time to reflect and think about what they have learnt. This kind of learner would usually not excel from being put in a...

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..."Effective study skills are the sole foundation of a sound education" Effective study skills are definitely an important factor of a sound education. They don't happen overnight. They "evolve and mature through practice, trial and error, feedback from others and reflection through different stages of the course" (Cottrell,S.2008. pg1) Working on effective study skills means the individual will find out what works best. Basically "learning how to learn" (Cottrell,S. 2008. pg 48). There are many different ways in which individuals learn, for e.g. 'conscious learning' - when the individual is aware they are learning (Cottrell,S. 2008. pg 48). 'Unconscious learning' - when the individual is unaware that it is happening but it may become conscious learning when they just know something and then wonder, how did I know that (Cottrell,S. 2008. pg 48). Each person has 3 different learning styles which affect their lives. Some people learn better using visual learning such as looking at pictures or diagrams. Other people are auditory learners i.e. listening to recordings. Then there are people who are kinaesthetic or tactile learners, they like to touch and play with things. (Wyman,P. 2011). By testing all these types of learning people will see what they find easiest to use and then be able to adapt it to their......

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