Strategists in Human Capital!
Affinity International Consulting presents Futurepoint

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why " Student Skills"?

This is a very interesting summary from a paper "Doing away with ‘study skills’" by Ursula Wingate,  King’s College London, UK  and demonstrates for us, one reason as to why as to why we term ourselves"student skills" rather than "study skills" and develop our approach to reflection on motivation, mind set, and methods for a sustainable life long learning approach that is built on developing good habits.

In this paper, two extremes of skills development were examined: firstly, the bolt-on
approach that is remedial, not inclusive, and divorced from subject knowledge. It has
been argued that this approach is not capable of developing more than study
techniques. Secondly, the ‘long-term’ embedded approach was discussed that
develops the learning of all students in a progressive and holistic manner throughout
the degree course. Although this approach is regarded as highly effective in
developing student learning for university and beyond, its implementation is difficult.
An realistic and effective approach for universities would be to promote the
embedding of skills on a smaller scale, by encouraging academic staff to integrate
the development of learning into their teaching. Undoubtedly, the teaching quality in
higher education has improved through the learning and teaching enhancement
initiatives of the past decade. However, the fact that bolt-on study skills courses are
the predominant method of supporting students’ learning suggests that tutors’
understanding of the nature and complexity of learning at university needs to be
According to Lea and Street (1998), many tutors may not be aware that students’
difficulties with academic tasks often stem from epistemological assumptions rather
than from a lack of techniques. Raising this awareness would help tutors to recognize
their essential role in developing students’ deeper understanding of knowledge.
Further aspects of this role are providing student with opportunities for reflection,
and with feedback on their performance.

Therefore, the understanding of what learning at university involves is a key factor
in engaging academic staff in the development of their students’ learning.
For this understanding, it would be beneficial to do away with the term ‘study
skills’, which implies that quick fixes are possible, and focus resources on educational
development initiatives, which enable staff to effectively enhance student learning.

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