"I can't say it any better": Critical reading as a threshold concept in helping postgraduate Arab students become critical and original writers

Radhika Iyer-O'Sullivan

Abstract


Many studies on plagiarism issues across the globe have arrived at the consensus that in dealing with plagiarism, universities need to do more than provide students with policies and procedures. Education, via academic support classes, has been touted as the way forward in teaching students to develop academic writing skills and avoid plagiarism. Teaching postgraduate students to produce academic writing that is analytical while retaining their individual expression has been a challenge at the British University in Dubai (BUiD). Most of the students at the university come from mainly Arab educational backgrounds. This could mean that their education may not have been in English but more importantly, that they may also have been entrenched in different learning and teaching styles. Previously encouraged to rely on restating exactly what they have read may contribute to students' inability to express critical thought through their writing. Based on analysis of students' critical writing through faculty feedback, samples of student writing and Turnitin reports, this paper seeks to demonstrate that teaching critical reading skills as a threshold concept that translates into critical thinking skills will help students adopt a different approach to reading, which will subsequently help develop critical writing skills. This paper will show how pedagogy was developed to enable students to read critically and produce coherent and thoughtful critical writing while retaining academic integrity.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21913/IJEI.v9i2.888