Lonely Heart Columns: A Novel and Entertaining Way of Teaching Students Abstract Writing Skills

Ian J. Turner, Ellen S. Beaumont

Abstract


Important skill, fun approach, uses lonely heart columns, students enjoy, gain transferable skills.

Abstract writing is a key skill for science graduates; they are a common feature in many of the standard forms of scientific dissemination such as scientific research articles.  In this paper we present a novel and entertaining approach for teaching abstract writing using adverts from lonely heart columns (LHC).  Student constructed full profiles of the authors of LHC and constructed LHC profiles of celebrities to illustrate the key sills in abstract construction.   There was no significant difference between the grades achieved by student taught using LHC and a more traditional approach, suggesting there were no negative impacts from this delivery method.  Student in LHC tutorial overwhelmingly enjoy the tutorial, 95% responded the question ‘how would you rate the enjoyment of this tutorial’ as ‘much’ or ‘very much’. In addition to abstract writing two thirds of students in LHC tutorial believed they improved their ability to speak in front of others and their creative thinking skills. The LHC tutorial is a novel approach to teaching and learning that is both enjoyable and effective.


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