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A scaffolding framework for dialogicality, or: reanimating assessment terms with an ‘anti-glossary’ approach Kendall Richards K.Richards@napier.ac.uk Dr.

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Presentation on theme: "A scaffolding framework for dialogicality, or: reanimating assessment terms with an ‘anti-glossary’ approach Kendall Richards K.Richards@napier.ac.uk Dr."— Presentation transcript:

1 A scaffolding framework for dialogicality, or: reanimating assessment terms with an ‘anti-glossary’ approach Kendall Richards Dr Nick Pilcher Academic Support Advisor FECCI Lecturer in in-sessional EAP NUBS Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh Napier University

2 Just a straightforward what is this? We could mention library figs here

3 Key assessment terms: Account for Critically Evaluate Distinguish
Interpret State Analyse Define Evaluate Justify Summarise Comment on Describe Examine Narrate To what extent Compare Explain Outline Trace Contrast Discuss Illustrate Relate

4 Are they key terms?

5 Staged Focus Group Home Lecturer Focus Group
Home Lecturer and Student Focus Group Home Student Focus Group Home and Chinese Lecturer and Student Focus Group Chinese Lecturer Focus Group Chinese Lecturer and Student Focus Group Chinese Student Focus Group

6 What we focused on Positive / negative?
Meaning (in English or Chinese) What do they want you to do? Same in UK and China? Confident about them? Where did you learn about these words? How did you learn about them? Have your understandings of these words changed at all since you have been at university? How? Why?

7 Findings We found wildly differing constructs of key terms such as ‘discuss’ and ‘critically evaluate’ dependent upon a number of factors which we detail here: But first – your turn to organise them

8 Language Critically evaluate – UK based Chinese lecturers - “Chinese students and British students use this word very differently. British students would know it’s to make comments, to “critically analyse” or “discuss”, while Chinese students’ often write completely based on what is given, descriptive, without their own understanding and views, or just criticise, list all the negative points without including any positive points. Therefore, this is a very important word.” “In Chinese discuss means to exchange your opinion with another or much more other people. So we can never discuss by yourself...if we say discuss it is weird because you cannot discuss by yourself.”

9 Culture UK lecturers- “‘Summarise’ is a really tricky thing to get students to do.” ‘Summarise’- UK based Chinese lecturers -- “there shouldn’t be any ambiguity in this one” UK students -“I’ve been brought up in a culture that you respect these people because they’ve got where they are today and my first reaction would be not to even question them” UK based Chinese lecturers -- “a precise meaning [of critically evaluate] can only be determined when it is put in the real situation… different cultures mean different intentions.”

10 Stakeholder UK lecturer “That’s good un use it all the time…‘discuss’ must contain the elements of ‘critically appraise’… ‘analyse’ ‘review’ it’s got ‘synthesis’ it’s got ‘scholarship’ it’s got the lot in ‘discuss’” UK student “ Ohh I hate this one…I don’t really know what it means to ‘discuss’ and I often failed on it...well not fail but ahh you know not do so well…I read somewhere in one book, that discuss means that you have to highlight the most important points of certain arguments and either compare or contrast them [I - And does that make sense to you?] No! (Laughter)” UK lecturers – summarise “It’s a difficult one because it’s synthesising stuff it’s something students find hard…I might ask it in a viva.” Chinese students – summarise “Just to finish off, give em say 5 bullet points or actually the main elements.”

11 Subject “obviously coming from English and film studies ‘prove’ is not really a word that we…really use, it would be more... ‘justify’ your argument” Ask Engineers to ‘trace’ and “they’ll be out with the greaseproof paper drawing pictures.” “to actually get an engineer’s ‘description’ of soil requires certain tests requires certain calculations”.

12 Development over time “I tell our students, it may be better if you haven’t learnt it in China, so that you would learnt in English first hand, there won’t be misunderstanding... [and] if you know a little in Chinese but don’t thoroughly understand it, that would be worse. Many words can’t be converted, misunderstanding can easily happen. It would be better if it’s a blank slate.” “I think I was memorising vocabulary before, and felt the meanings of the words are similar. Since I came here, I see them in context, and can feel the subtle differences between them, and not like when I was in China.”

13 Development over time “I think…my understanding of all of these words has changed hugely since I was at university” when it comes to me I’m like no, that’s a stupid question he’s gonna think I’m stupid, I think it’s a whole confidence thing [general agreement]”. “‘Justify’ ‘Discuss’ ‘Critically Evaluate’ ‘Analyse’ they’re confidence issues it’s having the confidence to just to go for it [general agreement]” “My understanding of all these words has changed.”

14 Level and weight “It depends on the level of the module, not on the year that the student is in” “‘Describe’ if it’s worth 1 is very different from ‘describe’ if it’s worth 5.” “I would use ‘Outline’ for a 5 mark question or for 2nd year where I would use ‘Summarise’ with the 4th years because I think ‘Summarise’ is a really tricky thing to get students to do” “I find that ‘define’ the word for the 5 mark question or for summary and the ‘discuss ‘is for 20 marks”.

15 Some theory underpinning our approach
Or – and now a picture round…..your starter for 10 is……

16 Dr Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) “Ruminating on the nine years he had spent writing the first proper English dictionary, [Dr Johnson] recalled how he had set out to ‘fix our language’. But he had found that this was folly: language was in a constant state of lively mutability and could not be embalmed” (Mullan 2010:3).

17 “Words are symbols that assume a shared memory” (Borges 1979:33)
Jose Luis Borges (1899 – 1986) “Words are symbols that assume a shared memory” (Borges 1979:33) Background

18 Dr Theresa Lillis “Language, far from being a static entity, with fixed meanings, as is implied in a dictionary for example, is a living, social phenomenon dynamically carrying and contributing to the meanings that can be made... who is being addressed, what is being addressed – and the particular meanings, or accents that wordings develop within specific sociohistorical contexts.” (2003:198) Just a straightforward who is this

19 Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951)
There are a number of Language ‘Games’ such as “Giving orders, and obeying them – Describing the appearance of an object, or giving its measurements…..speculating about an event…..Presenting the results of an experiment in tables and diagrams” (Wittgenstein 1953: PI23).

20 Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) Topics VIII Questioner and Answerer

21 The Enemy within Part 1 Published Source Defining key terms Copies
Loans 1.Cottrell (2008:179) “Analyse – examine in very close detail; identify important points and chief features Critically evaluate – weigh arguments for and against something, assessing the strength of the evidence on both sides. Use criteria to guide your assessment of which opinions, theories, models or items are preferable” 29 73 2. Turner et al (2008:89) “You are required to produce an argument in almost every form of assessment that you do at university…. For example, the inclusion of instruction words such as ‘discuss’, ‘analyse’, ‘evaluate the claim that...,’ ‘critically evaluate the theory...’ ‘to what extent...’ alert you to the need for an argument.” 3 2 3. Tracy (2002:115) “Discuss – examine important aspects of; argue all sides before drawing a conclusion one way; outline the arguments, backing them up with evidence; consider the implications Define – give exact meaning of Trace – show how a topic has developed from the beginning to end” 1

22 The Enemy within Part 2 “sound like stupid crap, no... p.s try dictionary.com”

23 Fighting the Enemy within Part 1
“ L – Dictionary’s a hell of a powerful study... it’s a magic book it tells you the meaning of stuff, and in that respect it’s brilliant and it forces me to then think... if I’ve written down ‘Discuss’ would I have written what the dictionary said? And it’s written by far cleverer people than me, SA – Well what I find I’ve I’ve started to do... I’m finding words and say small phrases and... actually just copy and paste them onto Google Or Wikipedia…and reading through what their understanding of it is coz... rather than one sentence you’ll get a whole paragraph on it, and it actually it helps me understand what actually the word means [general agreement] within the sense of what I’ve originally seen it like SB – You see the thing is with me I would, I would actually disagree with you [the lecturer] with the dictionary erm because the dictionary’ll tell you what it means... but it... doesn’t tell you how to put it into context it might give you... maybe one sentence containing the word but it’ll no turn round to me and say... I need to use ethnography in this kind of context L – Yeh I know what you mean I could look up ethnography and I wouldn’t know when to use it exactly yeh uh huh fair point.”

24 Fighting the Enemy within Part 2
‘What do you do when you ‘critically evaluate’ academically?’ ‘If the question with the word ‘define’ in it is worth 5 marks how is it different from one where it is worth 1 mark? How?’ ‘Were you asked to ‘discuss’ at school? If yes, do you think you have to write something different at university?’ ‘Is it possible for students of your generation to ‘critically evaluate’ the work of professors and other researchers?’ ‘In China, if you are asked to ‘summarise’ what are you expected to do?

25 Term ‘Language Games’ ‘assumed shared memories’ Weighting Stakeholder
Culture Subject Language ‘Language as fluid’ Level ‘Questioner and answerer’ Time

26 References Aristotle, Topics. WA Pickard-Cambridge: Books. ... Paperback: 108 pages; Publisher: Digireads.com (January 1, 2006) Borges, J. L., Di, G. N. T., Reid, A., & Borges, J. L. (1979). The book of sand ; translated [from the Spanish] by Norman Thomas de Giovanni ; [and], The gold of the tigers : selected later poems ; translated [from the Spanish] by Alastair Reid / [by] Jorge Luis Borges. London: Allen Lane. Cottrell, S. (2008). The study skills handbook. Palgrave study guides. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Lillis, T (2003) Student Writing as ‘Academic Literacies’: Drawing on Bakhtin to Move from Critique to Design LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION Vol.17,No. 3,2003 pp 192 – 207 Mullan, John (2010) ‘The folly of preserving English in aspic’ G2 Magazine, Guardian , p3 Tracy, E. (2002). The student's guide to exam success. Buckingham [England: Open University Press. Turner, K, Ireland, L, Krenus, B, Pointon, L (2008). Essential academic skills. South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Oxford University Press. Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell Wordle.net


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