We've all experienced students who are intellectually gifted, but most decidedly "gift-less" when it comes to using study habits as a way to increase achievement. Some students do not possess self starting mechanisms and chug along on brain power alone. Eventually, these students will hit the wall and stop working. Other students have no idea how to study and are too proud to admit it. We have to admit that not all high school students that enter the classroom come equipped with exemplary study habits and in some cases, any study habits. What to do?
As I have mentioned in the previous two blog articles, when we instill academic behaviors within our content, good things happen! I use my time in the classroom like a precision instrument and that means including instruction in study skills without compromising content. It can be done and done well, but admitting that all students can benefit from this instruction is a good first step. When I asked my teachers at Cross Creek Early College in Fayetteville, North Carolina, "If I were a student in your class, where would I find study skills being taught within the class/class content?" This is what they told me:
*organizing study groups
*using Cornell Notes on a regular basis
*showing "good" and "not-so-good" examples
*modelling note-taking during lecture
*highlighting for purpose
*using on-line study helpers like Study Island
*manipulating text via textbook, articles, and other media
*keeping up with the calendar (due dates) and grades
*teaching skills during class starter and/or class closure
*providing peer evaluations
*entering information in an interactive notebook
*showing explicitly how to study for a test when at home
How do you instill study habits in your classroom?
What do you do when a student gives up? Some educators say they would work with the student until the last minute of the last class they are together. Others would say that it's not their job to motivate, but to teach, so if the student gives up, it's her problem. Since I am a learner-centered educator, I find the latter answer disappointing and sad, but I understand the frustrations of having a student who has stopped working. I really do!
As I mentioned in my last blog article, when we instill academic behaviors within our content, good things happen! Including and/or teaching the tenets of persistence and perseverance in the classroom may help that struggling student stick-to-it versus giving up. When the climate of a classroom looks at failure as a start point, rather than the end, a student may keep going. When I asked my teachers "If I were a student in your class, how would the ideas of perseverance and persistence be developed within the classroom setting?" Here's what they said:
*Not "allow" the student to give up!
* Tutoring opportunities
*Students collaboratively working in various group formats (partners, trios, quads)
*Time management mini lessons
*Support and encouragement
*Including insight on the growth mindset model
*Appropriate level of difficulty
*Syllabus/Classroom Subject Guide
*Informal assessments (to catch a struggling student before it's too late)
What are the ways you instill the ideas of persistence and perseverance in your classroom?
Alison Thetford, M.Ed