Kean University professors Victoria M. Rey, Ed.D., of Union, associate professor and director of developmental reading courses, and Ethel E. Young, Ph.D., of Basking Ridge, professor and director of the Reading Lab, were awarded the Best Paper Award during the education session at the International Organization of Social Sciences and Behavioral Research Conference in Atlantic City.
Their research paper, titled Engaging Readers in Critical Thinking through Culturally Diverse Texts, indicated that "allowing students to apply their critical thinking skills through reading culturally diverse materials helps them to improve their reading comprehension as well as their understanding of other cultures," said Young. "Students also realized that, in spite of cultural differences, people can still work together and help each other, which is critical in our increasingly global world."
Drs. Rey and Young taught critical thinking as part of their developmental reading courses. Students were asked to choose a text about a culture other than their own, to write a journal report, and to present a summary and insights to the class.
“Engaging students in reading about other cultures increases their understanding of others and leads to greater respect for people's differences,” said Rey. "For some students, this was the first time they had explored the history and traditions of their parents, grandparents, relatives and friends."
The positive findings of this research, said Drs. Rey and Young, continuously inspire them to work with their colleagues in Kean's College of Education to find ways to help students enjoy what they are learning while improving their reading comprehension and critical thinking.