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Academic Reading IELTS by British Council

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Sample text

This lot think they can memorise the facts the night before the exam, spot the question types, and plug the numbers into the right formulae, and to hell with listening in lectures. They’re wrong, of course, but they don’t know how wrong until after the first-year exams. John wants some new techniques for delivering his content more effectively. Most of the things that used to work don’t seem to work any more. The techniques in the book on lecturing you lent me didn’t work either. They all ignored the buzz group questions and talked about Saturday’s game or something.

Anyone serious about improving their teaching should think about the implications of the idea of an ‘imitation subject’ carefully. Students who have learned imitation subjects have been involved in a certain process that has enabled them to acquire factual knowledge which is useful in a very limited range of situations. Much of what they have learned has no personal relevance to them (except as a form of gaining qualifications) or any connection with the real world it is supposed to explain. In this chapter and the next one, I try to show how we can use the idea of different approaches to learning to explain the perplexing phenomenon of students’ misunderstandings, and to learn how to tackle its causes.

Comparable statements are found in most writings advocating the need for lifelong learning in higher education, particularly in professional fields. Aims such as the capacity to respond flexibly to changing circumstances, to learn throughout a career, and to integrate theory and practice by generalising from a theoretical knowledge base to deal capably with previously unmet situations, are very common (see Bligh 1982; Knapper and Cropley 1985; General Medical Council 1987; Williams 1988; Murphy 2001).

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