A TOOLKIT FOR SCIENCE STUDENTS
Readings and Exercises
1. Introduction – Appreciative Inquiry
2. What Do I need to know to pass the course?
3. How do I learn?
4. How do I respond to different teaching styles?
5. How do I get the most out of reading stuff?
6. How Can I take good notes?
7. What are research skills ?
8. How do I improve my writing?
9. How do I set goals?
10. What motivates me to achieve?
11. How do I cope with stress?
12. What is Time Management ?
You probably skip introductions as a rule – but this time we know
you’ll read it because that’s what we’ll do in our first class.
If you are ready to think about a career in science – then
introductions and summaries are going to be “prescribed reading”.
That’s because these two formats contain the information that you will need to analyse or to action the body of work in front of you.
This body of work contains several tools that will help you make sense of your course, your thinking, your science and your study path.
We will cover styles of teaching and learning, basic reading, writing and note taking skills, comprehension and analysis, research skills, time and stress management – and goal setting.
At the end of our time together you should have a range of tools you can call on to pass this science course . We have adapted this material from a number of sources freely available on the net. Please visit these sites and read the material there. You will pick up a number of hints on study not covered here. And it will improve your research skills!
We will also cover the feelings, events and responses you might have during this year. These are mostly predictable and that is always a comfort.
Now, if you are ready to begin – take a deep breath and get ready
to find out more about the people you’ll be travelling with this year.
We’ll do this by a method called Appreciative Inquiry.
Your task is to interview your partner. You must ask only positive questions and the aim is to receive positive answers. If your partner begins to give you negative information – redirect them to the original question.
Pay attention to their answers. You will not be asked to read these answers out to the class – these are for your interview partner.
Question 1 (record the answers in the space given)
What are you good at?
What excites you about going to TAFE?
What subjects do you think you’ll do well at and enjoy?
What’s the best learning experience you can recall?
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?
What’s important to you right now?
2. What do I need to know to pass the course?
You will need to know how to:
; Read efficiently
; Write in plain, well constructed English
; Analyse scientific abstracts, reports, essays and articles
; Apply the principles of Time management
; Apply the principles of Stress Management
; Understand your own capacity to learn and to teach
; Conduct desktop research on a specific subject
; Work in a team
; Understand your motivation and thus how to set achievable
goals for yourself
You will need to know that during the course you will change. This means that people will ask you why you are different – why you
have different interests, priorities, ideas and friends. Families may be jealous of your new life. Good friends from your old school may feel left out. And all this can be stressful.
You also need to know that there are regular times through the year where you may go through a series of major and minor crises. Usually around Easter, First Semester break and September.
This is where you think “I can’t do all this!”, “I can’t cope”, “I’m not sure what I’m doing”. THIS IS NORMAL. Stick to it – ask teachers
and student support for help. You’ll be surprised at what you are
able to achieve.
3. How Do I Learn?
Learning modes made simple
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) originated in America in the mid-1970’s
when John Grinder and Richard Bandler modelled outstanding communicators.
In essence they found that words and body language are linked to the way we think.
As we get more experience in learning with others we begin to realise that there really are people who don’t listen to what we say and who therefore make mistakes about us.. This is different to the experience of telling someone who doesn’t want to hear – many students and teachers just don’t
seem to be able to take in specific information.
What is it and how do I do it?
We receive and process information in what is known as a “preferred mode”.
This mode can be Visual, Aural or Kinaesthetic.
Or in plain English - Sight, Sound and Touch.
We learn in these preferred modes. You can probably identify your own preferred mode by considering how you learn – for example – when a new
computer is placed on your desk.
Make sure all the plugs are in, switch it on and play with the keyboard? Call the IT person to talk you through booting up procedures? Have a quick look at the manual and maybe write down a couple of the important steps to remind yourself?
; The first mode is basically kinaesthetic – or “hands on”
; The second is aural – you respond well to verbal information
; The third is visual – you like to “look over” the machine and its
capabilities by reading.
What is one of your favourite sayings? Use typical events like meeting, greeting and eating!
And another thing
- Generative Learning is about learning to learn. One of the best ways
to learn is to model behaviour. We often base our actions on people
we admire – who we think are skillful, intelligent, articulate. We copy a
pattern of behaviour. This pattern reflects the language and actions of
our models. It will also reflect values, beliefs and attitudes Is there anyone so far in your education on whom you might base your academic approach?
Who were/are your heroes in the field of science or other area of interest to you?
What are their attributes? Values? Behaviours?
4. How do I respond to different teaching styles?
First - what do teachers learn about “Learning Styles”?
Here’s an extract from a web site for teachers in Australia. The discussion is
based on David Kolb’s theory of learning which is still taught at most
This approach to learning emphasizes the fact that individuals perceive and process information in very different ways. The learning styles theory implies that how much individuals learn has more to do with whether the educational experience is geared toward their particular style of learning than whether or not they are "smart." In fact, educators should not ask, "Is this student smart?" but rather "How is this student smart?" Discussion
The concept of learning styles is rooted in the classification of psychological types. The learning styles theory is based on research demonstrating that, as the result of heredity, upbringing, and current environmental demands, different individuals have a tendency to both perceive and process information differently. The different ways of doing so are generally classified as:
1. Concrete and abstract perceivers--Concrete perceivers
absorb information through direct experience, by doing,
acting, sensing, and feeling. Abstract perceivers, however,
take in information through analysis, observation, and
2. Active and reflective processors--Active processors
make sense of an experience by immediately using the
new information. Reflective processors make sense of an
experience by reflecting on and thinking about it. Traditional schooling tends to favour abstract perceiving and reflective processing. Other kinds of learning aren't rewarded and reflected in curriculum, instruction, and assessment nearly as much.
How the Learning Styles Theory Impacts Education
Curriculum--Educators must place emphasis on intuition, feeling,
sensing, and imagination, in addition to the traditional skills of analysis, reason, and sequential problem solving.
Instruction--Teachers should design their instruction methods to connect with all four learning styles, using various combinations of experience, reflection, conceptualization, and experimentation. Instructors can introduce a wide variety of experiential elements into the classroom, such as sound, music, visuals, movement, experience, and even talking.
Assessment--Teachers should employ a variety of assessment techniques, focusing on the development of "whole brain" capacity and each of the different learning styles. Reading
Bernice McCarthy, The 4-MAT System: Teaching to Learning
Styles with Right/Left Mode Techniques.
David Kolb, Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development.
Carl Jung, Psychological Types.
Gordon Lawrence, People Types and Tiger Stripes: A Practical
Guide to Learning Styles
Adult Learning – some points for consideration
1. Adults learn best in a group situation
2. Adults bring a wealth of experience to the learning event 3. Adults need to be treated with respect
4. Adults need to trust the teacher and have faith in their
5. Adults frequently come to learning activities with a high
level of anxiety
6. Adults come to learning activities with a purpose 7. Adults come ready to learn
8. Adults learn through practical activities
In a 1994 report on the current state of emotional literacy in the U.S., author Daniel Goleman stated:
"...in navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies,
our rages and depressions, our worries and
anxieties that steer us day to day. Even the most
academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to
being undone by unruly emotions. The price we
pay for emotional literacy is in failed marriages and
troubled families, in stunted social and work lives,
in deteriorating physical health and mental anguish
and, as a society, in tragedies such as killings..." Exactly what is Emotional Intelligence? The term
encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:
1. Self-awareness--knowing your emotions, recognizing
feelings as these occur, and discriminating between each
2. Mood management--handling feelings so these are
relevant to the current situation and you react
3. Self-motivation--"gathering up" your feelings and
directing yourself towards a goal, despite self-doubt,
inertia, and impulsiveness