Introduction to Study Skills Course / Critical Thinking

By Bill Guariento
University of Glasgow EFL Unit

A few words to say about the great resource you have produced.

I've been using 'the Corporation' for the past 5 years or so as part of our Introduction to Study Skills course for postgraduate students at the University of Glasgow here in Scotland.

We get a vast number of foreign students, particularly in Accounting & Finance, who have very little experience  of questioning what is presented to them from on high.  Really my brief is to teach them English, but the critical thinking issue is absolutely fundamental, and even just raising awareness is time well spent, I think.

I've been making use of the 'talking heads' section of the dvd. [DVD 2 of the Special Edition] 

I ask the students: 'Is it good to have an opinion?', hoping to elicit a 'Yes' (though many are worried that their opinions may differ dangerously from those of their teachers, an excellent starting point for initial discussion).  I then ask them to write down 'agree / disagree' to the following statement: 'Government interferes too much in business'.

Having established that having an opinion is good, I then move on to the 'meat' of the session, i.e. the importance of backing your opinion up with an 'expert' who shares it.  Or, even better, finding an expert who disagrees with you, but then finding TWO who agree!

We then look at 6 clips:

- Friedman (Too much government)
- Moody-Stuart (We need rules)
- Anderson (section 1.2)
- Walker (Regulation is the problem)
- Monks (Accounting for greed)

- Joe Badaracco

The students have to decide on which side of the divide each speaker stands, and then construct an argument defending their own opinion.

We then move on to use a University of Glasgow Accounting Professor's journal article, analysing it to see how full-time academics present and justify, on paper, the opinions they hold.

I have also used 'the Corporation' very usefully for the 'signposting' carried out by good lecturers, i.e. 'firstly....secondly...having looked at ______ let's look at.....'

Once again, many thanks,

Yours,

Bill Guariento

University of Glasgow EFL Unit

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