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Options and Choices: Reading, Research and Composition

Here is a selection of some of the main strategies that might be used to address respective needs in terms of independent studstudy skills. These are just the main strategies so additional links to further useful resources are also included.

Some of these might be considered universal or inclusive approaches that can be applied for the benefit of all learners, whereas others may be more specific interventions that may be needed over and above these to benefit students with specific needs.

  • Be clear that students will develop these study skills over time and they are not expected to have all of these fully developed at the start of their studies.
  • Be explicit about requirements and signpost students to sources of study skills support and advice that support this. An example might be signposting to or arranging timetabled sessions with Academic Support Librarians who can advise on referencing and can highlight tools and resources in support of this. Building this into induction and first year teaching brings additional benefits in terms of contextualising these skills within a course of study.
  • Build the development of study skills such as writing, critical thinking and academic literacy into subjects and programmes of study. This integrated approach promotes the notion of skills development as being part of the entire course and supports employability skills and a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Scaffold the development of study skills throughout a programme of study. Students should be able to track their development over time.
  • Provide clear feedback on areas for development with direction to sources of support and information.

As you work through these, think about which of these you do already. Are these things that you could apply in all your teaching? Which of them would most help Rebecca or Francesca in their situations? 

Pause for thought

Reflecting on both case studies in this section and the suggestions above:

  • How does your practice support the needs of students with regard to independent studstudy skills?
  • What changes to teaching and learning strategies could be made in these situations? Might you do things differently?
  • Who do you need to involve in order to make support for students effective?
  • What are the main barriers to you accommodating students’ needs with regard to development of independent studstudy skills? How can these be overcome?
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