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Sunday, 24 July 2011

2nd Writing Class July 25 2011

Looking forward to seeing what is in store Monday night... Here is some information that I had in earlier blogs about academic writing

Also - if you have not already - check out the level descriptors that MDX use for assessment.

Here is a definition I really like... 
The idea of being 'critical' is also to talk about what things mean. You might even add an argument. "The word argument in higher education means a proposition or propositions (or conclusion/s) combined with a reason or reasons. A proposition is a statement, a way of thinking, or an idea that you believe to be true. It is also a way of persuading a reader of your views" (Institute of Education, 2008).

Structure in writing is important, because formal structure (sentences and paragraphs) allow you to say what you mean in a way that communicates well. My rule of thumb 'american style' is the classic essay form of an introductory sentence, key points, and a concluding sentence... so at least three to five sentences in the paragraph (you may have more). 

Critical thinking is process that is used to think about topics and issues.

Glaser (influenced by Dewey) said “Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (extract from Fisher 2001).

“Critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Norris and Ennis, 1989,extracts from Fisher 2001).

Stella Cottrell (The Study Skills Handbook 3rd ed., 1999) says that Glaser emphasises 3 main points about critical thinking: 1. persistence 2. evidence 3. implications

You use critical reasoning to:

• Identify elements of a reasoned case
• Identify and evaluate assumptions
• Clarify and interpret expressions and ideas
• Judge the acceptability and credibility of the claims
• Evaluate the arguments of different kinds
• Analyse, evaluate and produce explanations
• Analyse, evaluate and make decisions
• Draw inferences
• Produce arguments (Fisher 2001)

Cottrell also suggests applying analytical thinking - being able to do things like
• “ looking for possible flaws in the reasoning of evidence, or the way in which the conclusions were drawn”
• “comparing the same issue from the point of view of other theorists or writers” and “checking for hidden assumptions” (Cottrell 1999).

These ideas are linked to what I call critical curiosity, your ability to want to know about something using a framework that is wider than what you already know…(Nottingham, 2009). This means extending your knowledge and understanding to learning that includes sources that go beyond the self to peers, professional networks and academic-related literature.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Writing Class Wiki 1

Please add to the writing wiki about a writing style that you like... Just click on the link that is embedded in the title. It is a public wiki.

Please leave a comment on the blog to say how you are getting on with the writing outside of the workshops.

Also add a comment on this blog if you are having any problems accessing the wiki or contact Paula on

Good luck with the writing.