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Evaluation report:

Critical Reading for Self-Critical Writing

One-day seminar, 27 May 2004, University of Bath


The purpose of this one-day workshop was to support new and relatively inexperienced researchers in developing their capacity to engage critically with academic, policy and practical literature, especially in the course of contributing to the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. The aims were to introduce core components of a structured approach for reviewing literature that focuses on in-depth critical analysis of individual texts, with special reference to teaching and learning; to highlight learning from the parallel between constructively critical reading of others’ writing in the literature and self-critical writing as creators of academic literature for other critical readers; to support participants in developing their ability to engage critically with the academic, policy and practical literature that they read in the course of their contribution to the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. In preparation participants were invited to read and bring a copy of a research report article or book chapter which they wish to engage with critically in trying out the structured approach to critical reading and in-depth analysis of a text during the workshop. On arrival, they were given a copy of the book Learning to Read Critically in Teaching and Learning, co-authored and co-edited by Mike Wallace and Louise Poulson, the workshop presenters, together with a handout and critical analysis form. Participants were supported in trying out the structured approach set out in the book through five sessions:
1. Linking constructively critical reading with self-critical academic writing;
2. Engaging critically with texts on teaching and learning;
3. Structuring and in-depth critical analysis of a text;
4. trying out the critical analysis of a text reporting research;
5. reviewing the literature and developing an argument.
Participants retained the book as a resource for extending the workshop activities.

Overall, participants judged that the workshop had very largely met their individual objectives and needs, including learning to use the material for their own teaching as academics. They appreciated being able to keep the book as a resource for consolidating what was introduced during the workshop.

Criticisms related to the venue rather than the content of the workshop: the University of Bath facilities are not well-designed for people with disabilities (though a major improvement programme is in train), the University catering staff appear to have confused a gluten-free with a vegan diet in meeting one participant’s stated special dietary requirements (but this problem was rectified at the time), and one participant did not realise that the location of the Department of Education is on the main University of Bath campus.


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This page was last updated 12th November 2004