How to encourage reading

As we start a new academic year, as faculty it’s worth thinking about our teaching strategies. Angela Jenks has a great piece, “Why don’t students read?” in Cultural Anthropology. What I like about the essay is both its honesty, and its practical discussion of tips to ensure that our students do the reading. In most of my classes, I now have a weekly reading quiz, which asks a simple question based on the reading, and entails a one to three paragraph response. I also agree with Jenk’s point that we can’t assign too much. Although we need to hold student’s accountable for the work, but also need to have realistic recommendations. Lastly, there is no substitute for an engaging book or essay. Yes, it’s still a struggle to have students read, but when we choose readings it’s also important to be mindful of what’s realistic to ask of our students at this point in their college experience. Want to see some syllabi for International and Global Studies classes? Here are some choices, including a syllabus for an introductory class. If you are using our textbook for the “Introduction to International Studies” course, we also have exam questions. Rosa David has also created a set of recommended films for an introductory course in the field.

Shawn Smallman, 2016

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