Study Skills in the University

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ESSAY: The items that should be covered in a pre-university study skills course for non-native international students.

Effective study skills are essential for international students because it will make students to be more motivated to learn as they know what are they learning and how they will do in the learning (Burns & Sienfield , 2008). In the context of tertiary education, international students have big responsibilities in learning since they are learning in a new environment that is challenging with unfamiliar people who are waiting for them. Therefore, study skills are crucial for international students because university life can be considered as their ‘full occupation’, meaning that 24 hours of time will be devoted for university life (Carrol & Ryan, 2005). In other words, strong commitment is needed for lectures, tutorial and time-management so that they can survive in a new academic culture. The main focus of the study skills course here is for international students with English as their target language or specifically English is learned for academic purposes (EAP). This means that English is used as a medium of instruction in classroom or the language itself is learned (Gillet, 2008). Here, I would like to talk about the items that should be covered in a pre-university study skills course for non-native international students. The first study skill that I choose to be implemented in this course is good note-taking. It is proposed that note- taking is essential for reading purposes so that they can focus on understanding of the lectures’ ideas in their own words (Howe, 1986). Other than that, the reason for a good note-taking skill is that international students are asserted to have difficulties in learning vocabulary as compared to local learners (Howe, 1986). From here, the problems can be solved if student’s needs’ are fulfilled in terms of vocabulary and language competencies. Therefore, when they are doing note-taking, they should productively write the notes in their own words as it will be easier for memorization. Furthermore, it is important for students to select the gist and salient notes only and ignore the unimportant words. While talking about concentration, sometimes it can be a big issue for international students. It is noted that they face problem within the social and cultural context with the home students (Carol, & Ryan, 2005,) thus affecting their confidence. Therefore, it is suggested that learners should become good note takers if they are at their full concentration during lectures or tutorial. In terms of note presentation, the notes should be legible so that it is interesting to look at and easily to be referred to later. This interest of looking at the note means that the note is accessible and it can be a good way of motivation in learning with competitive local students. According to the needs analysis of the international university learners, note taking is considered as important for them as ‘to reinforce what you have read and look’. This reinforcement will be good for future use and they will be critical thinkers in understanding the content of the lectures. It is worth noting that, at university level, lecture notes are not always something that they can fully understand due to the high level of the language being used (Howe, 1986). Therefore, the solution for this unfitting language level is they need to write and read their own notes because it is considered to be more understandable and easy to digest (Howe, 1986) In addition, the note-taking process is a must for international students because their level of proficiency can be low (Hall, 2008). Note taking is considered to be the best way to measure how far they understand what they have learned. In the university situation where all international students face problems in understanding the lecture, intelligent note taking is needed since they can be slow in processing information due to low...
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