Rounding off everything before half term always leads to a little self-reflection on how the term has gone. The conclusion for this half term was that my first years needed more:
- Support structuring their evaluation,
- Help to recognize what evaluation was,
- Ways to actually get off the fence and start thinking critically.
The first area I wanted to tackle was ‘name dumping’ where students use names of thinkers but re-state their point and do not do anything with it. When using any names in the exam, each one needs to be used critically in reference to the question, just by stating their criticisms of another person’s argument is NOT evaluation. The examiner wants to know what you think about how successful their criticism is.
So I created a very quick writing frame that not only helped structure evaluation in a paragraph but showed the students how to engage critically with the views presented. Students could choose from F.R Tennants and Arthur Brown’s views and/or the Goldilocks Argument as supporters or Dawkins (digger wasp/ memes) and Stephen Fry (bone cancer argument) as critics.
Now I’m not a fan of writing frames as I find them too restrictive on the flow of arguments. So I asked the students at the end whether they found it useful or not. It was pretty much a unanimous ‘yes’. Even though their answers read a little disjointed, the activity achieved what it was meant to do – to avoid name dumping and for them to recognize how to structure their arguments using supporters, critics and defences.
Continue reading “Avoid ‘name dumping’: Developing A02”