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Study is Nothing Like Chopping Broccoli

I'm passionate about the benefits of Academic Coaching.

Yes, it's a new term - it basically refers to dealing with learners (especially, but not solely) mature students as humans who are peers in regards to their professional expertise. They just need (a) a little guidance with the niceties of academic formatting and (b) confidence in their own capabilities. This has been particularly vital as for those working online, tackling an extended piece of work such as a dissertation or doctoral thesis.

It also represents progress in terms of thinking of learners as customers who deserve support, attention and reassurance.


I was fascinated to see a US-based provider of support to those undertaking dissertations exploring an analogy. I love analogies. BUT: she suggests that the dissertation not attended to is like the whole broccoli you bring back from the grocery store, drop into the fridge and then return to when it's largely mouldy - and then it gets thrown into the trash.

Instead, she suggests: if you merely chop up the broccoli as soon as you get it home, put it (naturally!) in a Tupperware container, you are more likely to use it and / or find it fresh when you do get to it.

OK.

Maybe.

But I don't really get it. I understand the concept of seeing any academic assignment (especially an extended piece of writing and analysis such as a dissertation / thesis) as being a problem dealt with as one would eat an elephant (in small chunks), but keeping something fresh in a box, cooking it as and when ... I'm not so sure.

I'd much rather people thought of the essay, dissertation or thesis as QUALITY RED MEAT hanging on the BONES of excellent structures. And of course the structure is vital, form follows function and the function of an assignment is to showcase, compel the reader(s) to value and grade it appropriately. So the visual appearance as well as the flavour of the dish need significant attention!

Broccoli, of course, is not exactly famed (fresh or raw) for either particularly interesting structure or flavour. Nor nutritional benefits. Steak, however, is packed full of proteins, fats, micro-nutrients, iron, etc..

So let's start thinking about any academic assignment as being the creation of RED MEAT for consumption - which drives the reader to be an ENTHUSIASTIC EATER, and where there is as little gristle as possible and where it's easy to 'pick the bones out' of it.

Does that work better? And no Tupperware or fridge needed. Just the swift heat of a heavy pan to sear the steak.

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