I go to the gym on campus regularly, and take the bus everyday. This gives me excellent opportunities to listen to student conversations.

At the gym, two young female students were chatting about the beginning of the semester, and just how much reading there was. The one is taking a lot of time to read each article, because of the extensive notes she’s taking. Her friend reassured her that it was okay, she’ll learn in a few weeks which course readings are necessary , and which can be dispensed with. They concluded the conversation talking about the black mold in the first students kitchen, which she’s been working with the landlord to deal with.

I was never really taught to read critically in university, I don’t think. Sure, I know the vocabulary, but I think that instructors mostly assumed that you knew how to find the themes, or the assumptions that the author makes. I probably spent way too much time highlighting 80% of the text, and writing down every heading (when I did the readings “properly”). The students in this conversation were just talking about the content to be absorbed, and which is expendable, but maybe the challenge is that students are reading inefficiently?

Instructors often talk about not having enough time for content, but maybe the issue is that students aren’t grasping how to read.


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