This guest post was written by Grant Ormerod @PE_Grant.
Imagine receiving a student’s first assessment of the year. You don’t even know their face or name yet, however the work is immaculately presented, well referenced and includes a faultless bibliography. The work looks professional. Do you remember them and the work they produce?
Each year at my college we enrol between 60 to 80 new BTEC Sport and Exercise Sciences students. All of which hold a variety of skills and knowledge that they developed from school. Literacy and Numeracy are a key area to incorporate in all lessons in sport, but when my students come to the end of their first year, they start to think about the skills and knowledge they may need for university.
Looking at the first assessments that the students produce, they are… let’s say dynamic! Its an explosion and combination of different fonts, text sizes, using bold, not using capitals, using pictures for no reason, copying and pasting, centralising the text, text changing colour, as well as leaving large gaps in the work.
The jump from college level to university is both academically and socially difficult. At school, such academic writing is not taught to a high level, therefore being able to develop these skills at college is something I felt was the right thing to do.
I begin this quest by including some of these points in the feedback we provided. This then became a document which outlined the basics to writing with a good essay structure. Some used this and others left it on the table at the end of the lesson. The best thing was that it was crystal clear who had and who had not followed the structure. Our key word has been ‘professionalism’. I wanted the mindset of the students to be to produce a professional looking piece of work. Having found and shown some university level essays, the student agreed that the work looked smart and nicely presented.
My way of selling this to the students was getting them to imagine handing in their first report at university, showing great presentation, uniformity, and structure. Furthermore, to include a well-developed and correctly written bibliography using relevant references for information and images. A university lecturer will remember them for future assessments and will be likely to offer more support if necessary.
The response has been incredible, so much so that this poster is on our moodle area, is up on our notice boards and in classrooms. More importantly, the work produced by the students is now looking very ‘professional’ and achieving high grades on the first attempt. Moreover, the students are proud of what they are producing, of which is unteachable!!!
You can download the poster from here.