Teaching Fashion: Getting them to Read

You can lead a student to readings but can you make them read?
A lament I hear from colleagues (and myself) is that students have a tendency to not read their textbooks or other required reading. From the student side I hear “why should I read it when it is covered in class? Well, as an instructor, you know you generally can’t cover everything in class discussion or lecture that is covered in the reading. Telling students this proves to have mixed results – some read it, some don’t. Reading notes are one way to combat this issue. I have devised different assignments based on the average amount of reading for a section or week in a class and what other weekly assignments a class requires. I will share what I use for three classes.

Example #1
Required reading and texts include a textbook and supplementary readings (articles and book chapters).
Textbook reading materials are covered by section specific worksheets
Supplementary Reading Assignments Notes Guide

Answer or complete the following for each supplementary course reading on Blackboard or handed out in class. Hand in on the first day of each time period as noted on syllabus. These may be handwritten but must be legible. Pages must be stapled together!

• Write 2 things from the reading that support what you read in the textbook reading from the time period (something that you read in the textbook)
• Write 1 thing from the reading that was NOT in the textbook reading
• Write what you found most interesting from the reading
• Write 2 questions you think someone should be able to answer after reading the article.
• Write 1 question you have after reading the article.

Example #2
Required reading and texts include a textbook, Dreaming of Dior, selected readings from the Berg Encyclpeida of World Fashion and articles.
Reading Assignments Notes Guide
Answer or complete the following for course readings. Hand in on the first day of each time period as not noted on syllabus. These may be handwritten but must be legible. Pages must be stapled together!

Textbook reading:
• What are the main garments?
• What are the time periods within the larger time period (if any)?
• What cultural influences affected dress?
• What else? Write down points you want to remember.

Dreaming of Dior:
• What is the clothing piece?
• What is the date?
• What was the occasion when the garment was worn?
• Why was the garment important to the woman?

For encyclopedia and articles posted on Blackboard:
• Write 2 questions you think someone should be able to answer after reading the article.
• Write 1 question you have after reading the article.
Non-store Retailing
Required reading and texts:
Reading Notes (due at the start of each period of dress):

Example #3
Required reading and texts include 2 textbooks and various newsletters, books and articles

Reading Assignments written critique
Points will be equally divided depending on the number of readings that week and will be based on the completeness of answering the questions below. Make sure you address each of the questions for each reading.

250 – 500 word (TOTAL) reviews/critiques/reflections of the readings are due each week from every student. These will be used to facilitate discussion.

For each reading you will address the following questions from each reading:
• One idea, observation and/or quote from the text that you liked. Include the page number.
• A personal connection to the chosen idea, quote or observation. Why did this particular idea strike you? What connection can you make with the idea and your business plan?
• Did the chosen idea surprise you in any way? How so? Did it make you think differently?
• Did the chosen idea conjure up further questions? What more do you want to know? Did the idea confuse you or question your previous thoughts and/or beliefs?
• What is one thing you did not understand in the reading? What you will do to help your understanding of that?


Comprehend?
Using reading notes greatly increase student comprehension and preparedness for class. Assignments show a greater depth of understanding and class discussions readily bring references to the articles and books. Going forward, every class I teach will include reading notes as regular assignments.

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