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PreUniversity Skills and General Studies Dr Harriet Jones University of East Anglia.

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1 PreUniversity Skills and General Studies Dr Harriet Jones University of East Anglia

2 Students are not prepared for university. What skills do they lack? What can be done about it?

3 Universities are designing basic skills courses for undergraduates, to teach alongside the normal undergraduate subject-specific teaching. Is this a problem?

4 This is not what universities are for. Universities are associated with higher learning. Students arrive at university keen to be stretched and challenged. They are finding themselves having to take lessons in basic writing and numeracy. This lack of skills is not confined to state schools. Higher grades at A level are no indication of skills.

5 The skills required by universities are not complex. They could be incorporated into school teaching in preparation for higher education and employment. Skills are taught at KS3, but when the exams become the goal, skills go out the window. Skills...

6 What are the most basic things students should be able to do before coming to university?

7 Reading

8 Kathryn Bigelow has become the first woman to win the best directing Oscar, as her Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker took six prizes, including best film. "It's the moment of a lifetime," said Bigelow - only the fifth woman to be nominated in Academy Awards history. She praised her fellow nominees "who have inspired me for decades", and paid tribute to those in the military. Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won the top acting Oscars for their roles in Crazy Heart and The Blind Side. Bridges, playing a hard-living country singer, beat George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Renner and Britain's Colin Firth to win with his fifth Academy Award nomination. "Thank you mum and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession," said a delighted Bridges, 60. "This is honouring them as much as it is me.“ From the BBC news web site

9 Kathryn Bigelow has become the first woman to win the (10) best directing Oscar, as her Iraq war drama The Hurt (20) Locker took six prizes, including best film. "It's the moment (30) of a lifetime," said Bigelow - only the fifth woman to (40) be nominated in Academy Awards history. She praised her fellow (50) nominees "who have inspired me for decades", and paid tribute (60) to those in the military. Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock (70) won the top acting Oscars for their roles in Crazy (80) Heart and The Blind Side. Bridges, playing a hard-living (90) country singer, beat George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Renner and (100) Britain's Colin Firth to win with his fifth Academy Award (110) nomination. "Thank you mum and dad for turning me on (120) to such a groovy profession," said a delighted Bridges, 60. (130) "This is honouring them as much as it is me.“ (140)

10  Take the number you got to multiply it by three.  This is the number of words you are reading in one minute.  The average university student reads 250 words per minute.

11 1. To build up knowledge of a topic. 2. To build up an understanding of special terminology. 3. To be aware of the writing style used in a specific field. 4. To weigh up what different writers say about a topic. 5. To evaluate the credibility of a text source. 6. To develop your own ideas – to think critically about texts.

12 How to construct a paragraph: 1.It needs to have a topic sentence. 2.The information needs to be in a logical order. 3.The sentences must have a clear focus with correct grammar and punctuation. 4.Connectives need to be used to show evaluation and analysis. 5.The final sentence needs to link into the next paragraph. Writing

13 If they can do this it is much easier to teach argument structure and persuasive writing. This applies to all subjects and to both university and employment. Writing

14 Insects have jointed appendages, such as legs and mouth parts, which enable sophisticated movement and handling food. Insects have wings which allow them to fly. The success of insects is down to their ability to fly, their ability to live in terrestrial environments and their life cycle which can include a significant change in what the insect looks like; this is called metamorphosis. Metamorphosis allows them to specialise at different stages of their live cycle. Adults specialise in dispersal and reproduction while the juvenile stage specialises in feeding and growth. Worms have many similarities to insects but worms have no appendages and cannot live in environments without moisture. Some do go through a metamorphosis, where the adult specialises in growth and reproduction while the juvenile specialises in dispersal. Insects and worms have a body which is divided up into segments. This enables specialisation along the length of the body and more controlled movement. An exercise to teach paragraph structure:

15 For maths and numeracy....... Students should be able to:  Make an estimate of the answer without the calculator.  Rearrange equations without using the triangle method.  Have confidence to take a problem based around words and translate into equations.  Understand the relationship between equations and graphs.  Have confidence to tackle unfamiliar problems.

16 Lots of universities have set up their own web- based maths tutorials to improve levels of maths and numeracy. For maths and numeracy.......

17 We assess the mathematical ability of students when they arrive at university. Skills are found to be at a very low standard: levels of basic numeracy, coping without a calculator, confidence in mathematical ability. Maths skills

18 Standard qualifications do not always reflect ability in the numerical and mathematical skills required by universities. It is very hard to judge the mathematical ability of students from their GSCE and A level grades. Maths skills

19 A diagnostic test gives a much better judge of maths ability.www.Englishlanguagetesting.co.uk An A grade means they are very competent. A D/E grade means they need a lot of extra support for science subjects. Even students doing Arts subjects should be getting a D. Arts students still need to be aware what percentage means and how solve problems which involve numbers. Also interpretation of graphs is important – e.g. History.

20 Learning skills Using sources of information – assessing the value of different sources, extracting information and using it effectively. Acknowledging sources – knowing when and where to reference. Following instructions – doing what is asked. Extracting information from written and verbal information, making notes and revision notes. Do things on their own – independent learning. If they don’t understand they need to look things up.

21 With this in mind a team from the University of East Anglia and Wymondham High School have put together a programme which helps students prepare for university learning. www.preuniversityskills.comwww.skillsforuni.com

22 PreUniversity skills PreUniversity skills – eight one-hour lessons for teachers to teach in school. A CPD course A CPD course - trains teachers to teach the course, a pack of teaching material, lesson notes, PowerPoint slides etc. Skills for Uni Skills for Uni – a two and a half day summer school for sixth form pupils, run at university and taught by university staff.

23 Most of the skills covered by this programme link in to General Studies. Schools are teaching the PreUniversity Skills programme in General Studies. Skills are valued by universities and employers, and also benefit A level studies. We are failing our students if these skills are not developed during Years 12 and 13. Teaching skills in schools...

24 In summary...... Key skills to include in sixth form general studies: Reading – analysing why they are reading a piece of text and engaging effectively with it. Writing – structuring a paragraph. Problem solving – analysing unfamiliar problems and translating them into maths. Learning skills – using written and verbal material effectively. - developing strategies for independent learning.


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