Author: Pauline Kneale
Publisher: Hodder Education
The third edition of this book (first published in 1999) has been extended from its original focus on geography to include the cognate disciplines of earth and environmental sciences (the so-called GEES disciplines). Pauline Kneale has consistently espoused the view that university study should not be concerned exclusively with learning about the GEES disciplines, but should equip students to learn through them. There is no more knowledgeable or passionate author to render the challenging issue of meta-cognition accessible to undergraduate students.
Twenty-nine short chapters tackle a comprehensive range of study skills in a highly readable, creative and entertaining manner. Traditional academic skills are covered, including effective reading and note-taking, constructing arguments and writing essays, acknowledging sources, preparing and delivering oral presentations and posters, undertaking revision and tackling examinations. In addition, guidance is given on the fundamental GEES skills of field and laboratory work, and managing an independent dissertation. New to this edition are chapters covering threshold concepts, plagiarism and ethics, and creativity and innovation (although the last section is brief). Additionally, while the personal nature of learning is still rightly emphasised, there are more references in this edition to socially constructed forms of learning, to the potential benefits (and possible drawbacks) of peer discussion, revision and assessment feedback. There is also further direction concerning the use of feedback to improve future assignments. Significantly, the student voice is much more audible in this edition. Speech bubbles present first-hand accounts of how adopting various skills has helped students with their studies, or how neglecting them has hindered their academic progress.
The book finishes with an updated examination of careers for GEES graduates, explaining how the skills learned at university can inform career choice and help prepare for job interviews. References to e-learning throughout have been refreshed to keep pace with technological developments in and out of the classroom (such as online discussion and document sharing, e-portfolios and podcasting assignment feedback). The presentation has been modernised, and the final miscellany chapter remains a useful reference point for GEES students.
Who is it for? Primarily undergraduate students within the GEES disciplines, but it can be recommended usefully to A-level students considering studying GEES disciplines at university.
Presentation: Accessible, engaging and replete with top tips, activity boxes and geo-games that challenge students to apply the skills they have read about (with answers supplied).
Would you recommend it? This is my study skills book of preference because students enjoy using it. The book provides an invaluable first reference for GEES students throughout their undergraduate journey, helping them to study more effectively and to prepare them for employment (see Kneale’s alternative study guides for the transfer of this successful formula to other subjects).