|Lit Motors car|
I showed participants how I use a model text in the students' field of study to enhance students' reading skills, and then use the work we've done to relate it to the kind of writing they have to do in their studies.
The text I used was Lit Motors: Super-shrinking the city car from the BBC news website:
This is a text I've used with my robotics engineering and mechanical engineering students to guide them to eventually write a process description. But the work we've done has also helped to sharpen their reading skills.
- what the innovation is
- how it is innovative
- what it looks like
- how it works
As part of the description, I have them notice how explanations are made to make the information understandable to a non-technical audience. This is an ability that is useful for them to develop.
Examples of these explanations include:
- Imagine if you could cut the size of a car in half, ...
- ...looks like a hi-tech, streamlined egg on two wheels.
- A spinning disc has a tendency to stay upright, just like a child's spinning top. If you were ever made to hold a spinning bicycle wheel horizontally at school then you will have experienced the physics at work.
- ...it will legally qualify as a motorcycle, meaning it can split lanes and park in motorcycle specific spaces.
- Highlight words and phrases in the text that indicate change; that is, what the innovation has done.
- Highlight words and phrases that indicate comparisons; e.g., advantages and disadvantages.
- This innovation focuses on the idea that the car is snaller than other models. Highlight vocabulary that indicates size.
These advantages make such texts very useful for ESP studies - in addition to providing interesting input for class dicussions about the innovation.