pleasureinlearning is pleased to present the first in a new Thursday series, R². Faculty members from different disciplines will share their strategies for emphasizing reading in their classes. Today’s post is the work of Greg Bridgeman, aka bridge707, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice.
Have you ever noticed that when you mention the word “reading” to your students, you get one of two reactions: a look of disgust or a look of resignation? In the Criminal Justice program reading is so critical that we have added additional reading assignments over and above the textbook. These assignments include novels, true crime dramas, classics, court case synopses and a variety of other materials that cause students to get out of their comfort zone.
When the college decided that our QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) would deal with reading, we immediately implemented supplemental readings in all Criminal Justice courses. The technique utilized was the simple process of requiring students to submit a book report each term. Books were selected by the instructor and standardized throughout the program. The weeping and wailing of the students was loud and long. Interestingly enough, when the book reports were turned in, it was amazing how their viewpoints had changed.
The assignment itself is quite simple. The student is required to prepare a two-page report. This report includes a synopsis of the material, and the student’s view of the material. During the time I have used this process, many of the students who swore they hated to read have turned in reports stating they want to know what else this particular author has written. There is one exception to this, and that is my class that requires students to read Supreme Court opinions, which they all hate.
When selecting books for students to read it is not my goal to find something students will enjoy. Quite the contrary, it is to find material that is different than what the student is used to dealing with. If you challenge a student and explain why you’re challenging him or her, they will get behind the project.
It is my belief that success is dependent upon an individual’s ability to read, assimilate, evaluate, and utilize the information that they have read. The purpose may be for simple entertainment, the increase of one’s vocabulary, or the personal satisfaction of understanding what it is someone is talking about. We as educators must challenge our students. Reading seems to be one of the challenges that our students need at this point in time. In a world where most of us get our news and information via electronic sources, our ability to read is being lost. It is up to us to bring this critical skill back to the forefront of education.
- A Small Glossary of Criminal Justice Terms (crime.answers.com)
- What you have to know to enter the University of Phoenix’s school of criminal justice (unknowntheartist.com)
- My Major, Criminal Justice (theramblingprobie.wordpress.com)