The teacher was feeling a bit overwhelmed. He was assigned a Reading course in which summarizing was one of the goals. Where to start? A colleague suggested a rather arduous process of having students identifying and clarifying the topic of the passage. This would be followed by techniques for finding the most important point the author was making for each paragraph. Then they would practice how to identify supporting points. They would practice recognizing key word and practice paraphrasing those. And on and on.
All those steps above are totally unnecessary.
The easy summarizing-skill technique
Here is the basis for this technique: We always have a reason for summarizing specific information from an article. (In real life, and even mainstream academic courses, are we ever asked to just summarize everything in an article?)
Several years ago, long before the coronavirus pandemic, researchers found that restaurant workers and hospital staff members were very negligent about washing their hands. This article discusses a clever study that was conducted to find a way to reverse this trend by comparing positive and negative messages. The results from the study can give us some interesting insights into how we might best motivate people in general.
Excerpts from paragraphs 2 and 11
2 We expect doctors and nurses to be aware of how important it is to wash their hands after they have examined or helped a patient. They understand that if they don’t, they could spread a disease from one patient to another. Surprisingly though, a researcher found that only 39% of hospital workers washed their hands properly. That is almost the same as the 38% of restaurant workers who do.
11 In sum, the researchers found that using a positive approach with the electronic board was much more effective than the negative signs about spreading disease. Every time the staff members washed their hands, they received immediate positive feedback. This positive feedback triggered a pleasure signal in their brains which they enjoyed getting. In other words, they tended to repeat this action in order to experience that pleasure signal. After a while, it became a habit, and they continued to do it even after the electronic boards were removed.
Article & Study Guide for Handwashing and Motivation