Students reported difficulties in reading the required texts in two required General Education courses, namely UGFH 1000 In Dialogue with Humanity and UGFN 1000 In Dialogue with Nature. The goal is to help a large number of students from diverse backgrounds to understand the gist and structures of these texts. Therefore, the EAC project team held a Professional Development Workshop for University General Education teachers to bridge the gap between teachers’ expectations and students’ performance.
Needs analysis: 10 students were interviewed to understand and confirm their needs and difficulties in reading the texts. Excerpts from On the Origin of Species, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and The Social Contract were also analysed.
Teachers gained support at different levels:
– critical reading strategies
– guiding questions for prompting the students to explore and infer meaning
– paraphrasing exercises for deconstructing complex sentences.
– a glossary of academic words, archaic words and technical terms prepared by UGE.
– visual aids for illustration.