- Offers the student's introduction and thesis to the best extent s/he knows it at this point in time,
- Summarizes key points, and
- identifies key terms (using quotation marks, and citing a page in parentheses);
- Locates controversies or "problems" raised by the articles;
- States whether the student agrees or disagrees and gives reasons;
- Locates one or two quotations to be used in the final research project; and
- Evaluates the ways in which this article is important and has helped the student to focus his/her understanding.
Example Introduction/Thesis to a Student Paper:
It never ceases to amaze me that we pay so little attention to the greatest bulk of our intelligence—that is, the quality of thinking that helps us adapt, deal with stress, love, and live lives of fulfillment. Aristotle argued that educating the mind and not the heart is no education at all. For decades, educators have focused on cognitive skills because they are testable and, therefore, metrics can be applied to them. This kind of education, testing, and then metrically interpreting results has governed American education for decades. And the results have been losses of creativity, imagination, courtesy, civic interest, and the ability to invent businesses that serve people and advance us as a society. Although measurable skills are important, they are not exclusively important, and in fact lose value when separated from an education in the heart, the spirit, and the abstract qualities that make students fully human and excellent participants in a healthy society.
Example Publication Detail Capture:
Mezirow, J. (2012). Transformative learning as discourse. International Journal of Business & Public Administration.
In this article, Mezirow makes a distinction between "instrumental" and "communicative" learning. "Instrumental learning" refers to those processes which measure and gage learning, such as tests, grades, comments, quizzes, attendance records and the like. "Communicative learning," on the other hand, refers to understanding created over time between individuals in what Mezirow calls "critical-dialectical-discourse," (92) which is a fancy way of saying, important conversation between 2 or more speakers. Another key idea Mezirow discusses is "transformative learning," (94) which changes the mind, the heart, the values and beliefs of people so that they may act better in the world. Mezirow argues that "hungry, desperate, homeless, sick, destitute, and intimidated people obviously cannot participate fully and freely in discourse" (92). On the one hand, he is right: there are some people who cannot fully engage because their crisis is so long and deep, they are prevented. But, I don't think Mezirow should make the blanket assumption that everyone in unfortunate circumstances is incapable of entering the discourse meaningfully. One thing is certain: if we gave as much attention to the non-instrumental forms of intelligence--like goodness, compassion, forgiveness, wonder, self-motivation, creativity, humor, love, and other non-measured forms of intelligence in our school curriculums, we'd see better people, actors in the world, and interested investigators than we currently have graduating high school.