Using SDGs and surrounding research as a basis to teach non-traditional MSc and DBA students to 1) summarize 2) paraphrase and 3) quote in academic reading and writing. Transferable to any English or Academic Skills course worldwide.
There are over 20,000,000 non-native English students a year who study in universities in English globally. The tremendous gaps in all four skills are partially filled by IELTS/TOEFL or other standardized tests, or ‘Academic Pathway/Foundation’ courses at universities – with limited places and high rates.
With the “Masters Bridge in English” we aimed to replace the ‘test’ and expensive pathways with an EU accredited and affordable ‘embedded online course,’ that can be integrated into any learning management system. During modules students can learn additional academic English, critical thinking, and transferable study skills then connect it directly to their Masters or PhD. This method lowers the gap between ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ speaker in the academic setting, moves students away from admissions tests towards useful courses, and connects academic language skills to any core course material.
For the Masters Bridge, students learn ‘language and skills through content’ and this leads the student step-by.step to thinking critically about societal and environmental issues. Once the student is sufficiently conscious of some ‘wicked’ problems through readings, videos, discussion, and short writing activities, they are led to the lessons “reading into writing” and “outlining a longer paper”. The SDGs form the main content of the MBE for 12 hours which leads them through the following steps:
1) The SDGs are introduced briefly as a reading and note-taking exercise. Within 15 minutes they have a good picture of the different SDGs and why they are important but continue with further activities.
2) Students take notes and choose ‘quotes’
3) Students examine ‘contrasting’ viewpoints in texts and determine the goals that relate across viewpoints, as well as reflect on which affect their lives.
4) The writing professor (live or pre-recorded on video) goes through the entire process from choosing quotes from the SDG research to paraphrase and summarize, then integrates them into an ‘academic style’ paragraph as cited references.
5) Students follow the professor’s method with their own quotes and write a paraphrase, summary, and integrate a quote into short writing activity.
6) The activity is assessed by one qualified tutor based on a simple ‘yes/no’ checklist regarding the functions of the skills, use of punctuation, vocabulary, and fluency of the writing. Average assessment time is 4 minutes per student.
We will continue to expand the MBE and other content-based language courses both for impact and income, while furthering the SDG goals directly and indirectly. Once the MBE is fully-accredited and available, learning about the SDGs will literally help students get admitted to university and successfully complete advanced degrees.