Tag Archives: close reading

A Guided Approach to Reading in Core Biology

This is the second post in a series on developing close reading habits in a freshmen Core Biology course.

Like in all core classes, students in Core Biology read scholarly literature rather than textbooks or popular literature. The goal is to read for enlightenment rather than simply information. Taken together, this means every text should be an opportunity for the reader to think critically and reflect on their beliefs. As described in the previous post, this was not what we observed when the students were left to their own devices.

In light of this, we developed a short guide to reading and writing Core Biology based on what we in the department personally do and what other scholars describe doing while reading. Continue reading A Guided Approach to Reading in Core Biology

You Can Lead a Student to the Library, But You Can’t Make Them Read, or Can You?

This is the first post in a series on developing close reading habits in a freshmen Core Biology course.

Student at His Desk-Melancholy (1633) by Pieter CoddeWhen we started doing original text reading in freshmen Core Biology, students had a devil of a time trying to understand a text like Summa Theologica.  In fact, students were having a difficult time reading and understanding just about any original text we threw at them (e.g., Plato’s Meno, Chapter 1 in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Darwin’s Origin of Species, etc.). Granted, the texts they struggled with were not easy texts to read, but comprehension was being replaced by full retreat from attempting to understand even after the first reading assignment was given. Students did not know how to tackle a text that did not have the 3 characteristics they look for in a book: short, simple, and shocking. After a long period of time we finally started to realize what the problem was. Continue reading You Can Lead a Student to the Library, But You Can’t Make Them Read, or Can You?