Gist Learning makes happy learners
Gist is the general meaning or purpose of a text, either written or spoken. Reading a text for gist is known as skimming.
The gist the point or substance of an argument, speech, etc. (from Anglo-French, as in cest action gist en this action consists in, literally: lies in, from Old French gésir to lie, from Latin jacere, from jacere to throw) (Dictionary).
Before answering detailed comprehension questions on a short story, learners read it quickly for gist, and then match the text to a picture that summarizes what happens in the story.
In the classroom
Readers employ a variety of reading skills including prediction, reading for gist, scanning, and intensive reading. Learners need to be shown these and taught how to use them to find their own effective strategies.
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Why is reading for gist important?
Skimming and scanning are reading skills most learners use extensively in their mother tongue. We might, therefore, expect the skills to be transferable ones – and indeed they are.
Reading for gist is not an end in itself. It’s a preparatory stage, a threshold. This is not to undermine its importance. In fact, this initial step is particularly useful and defines whether this or that part of a text deserves our attention.
Apart from other techniques and strategies, establishing the gist of each paragraph can save time and ultimately lead to a better result.
Read for gist, gist learning:
Skimming a text means reading it quickly for the main ideas, but the disadvantage of speed is increased ambiguity. If you’ve ever set a short time limit for learners to skim the whole text, and what they did instead was read the first paragraph in detail, then this is because they are reluctant to tolerate ambiguity. In other words, they feel they need more time to achieve a deeper understanding.
A way to take control of our reading pace and focus on the general idea is to use a text-prompter, which scrolls the text at a given speed forcing to move from one sentence to the next.
[expand title=”Highlighting”] Highlighting particular words or discourse features in a text is a practical way to direct your attention to where core meaning is to be found. As a rule, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and main verbs carry meaning, but we may want to focus on specific words and discourse features typical of the genre of the text in question.[/expand]
This kind of techniques is used for the Lucubrate learning. The steps in the Lucubrate courses has the core meaning. If you need more information to get a deeper understanding, you can find that from other sources.
Enjoy the gist learning
An important idea with gist learning is to study for pleasure, read or follow videos what is genuinely interesting to you and study as often as possible. It’s important to keep in mind that reading needn’t be task-bound; it needn’t come with a set of comprehension questions. Reading a novel, a newspaper article or a blog post or follow a Lucubrate video – and doing so frequently – can develop overall competence by creating lots of opportunities to notice different angles of the topic you are working with.
The Lucubrate is built for electronic devices and take full advantage of the possibilities with a smart phone or a computer.
Remember not to let study become overwhelming! Putting down the book or e-learning video or not finishing the lesson is a very common occurrence. So, remember to keep studying enjoyable. Learners should choose texts and videos that are neither too difficult nor too easy in terms of subject matter.