The Importance of Making-While-Reading for Undergraduate Readers: An Example of Inductive SoTL
Keywords:reading, humanities, expert and novice skills, maps, scholarship of teaching and learning
This paper gives an example of an inductive Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) process, adapting Anthony Ciccone’s five conditions of a meaningful SoTL question. Presenting a study on pre-class reading in an undergraduate religion class, I describe how my question went through five life stages. I began with nine different pre-class reading assignments. Students judged the “map” assignment to be most helpful. This led to a further question: why maps? In a close reading of students’ reading reflections, two themes stood out: students experienced maps as helping them create a mental overview of the reading, and maps facilitated greater ownership of the act of reading. In conclusion, I argue that humanities instructors who wish to teach advanced reading skills can start by providing pre-class assignments that allow for making-while-reading, and that this making should not be merged with other reading steps. In an epilogue I reflect on the inductive research process. I suggest that SoTL scholars who use this process may reach an impasse when deciding how to present meaningful answers because their conceptual answers will stand in tension with SoTL’s practical orientation. I propose focusing on conceptual generalization (rather than empirical generalization), while still foregrounding a balance between “what works” and “what is.”
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