Monday, December 18, 2006

Problems Faced by Science Students While Studying Humanities

1. Summarization: while reading long essays I (as a science student) find it difficult to summarize what has already been said in the preceding thousand words or so.

This is probably because in most scientific texts, summary is automatically provided by a concise formula or law.

2. Modularity: I find it difficult to break a long essay into smaller modules making some simpler sense on their own. And if such breakage is not possible at all, I find it difficult to follow the text.

This is probably because in most scientific texts, modularity is strictly followed. The subject matter is broken down into smaller independent pieces which can be contemplated on their own.

3. Logical relations: I find it difficult to figure out the exact logical relationship between the various parts of the text. That is, it is difficult to understand what is implying what and what is contradicting what etc.

This is probably because in most scientific text, such logical relations ships are explicitly stated in form of a formula or law. Also, scientific texts are less given to circumlocutions and digressions than humanities texts.

Thus, as a pedagogical aid, I may make the following suggestions:

1. Summarize: summarize whatever is being taught in as few words as possible. I know that this is a daunting task as most topics in humanities are neither straightforward nor definite in any sense. But still, try …

2. Emphasize the precise logical relationships: reiterate the logical relationships in your summary.

3. Modularity: maintain modularity of some sort. Of course, this may actually sap the beauty of many of the subjects the humanities deal with. But often they are making logical arguments during analysis and this strategy may work.

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