Many parents and their children of the school age are in a constant search of the ways and approaches how to make educational process more effective and at the same time easier. Some kids do not want to visit the school from the very beginning, the others get frustrated with some time, but all schoolchildren once face the problem when studying becomes a challenge or a kind of punishment. In this case, all parents must be rather attentive to their children and help them to cope with the existing or appearing problems and difficulties (read our previous blog post about the role of parents in their child’s education for more information). One of the ways is to show your child that schooling is not that frustrating as it may seem and 10 popular habits that help students to stay effective at school might be in handy in this situation.
1Determine what dominant style of learning is suitable for you
Many children face a problem when they spend hours in front of the books memorizing rules but their results continue to be rather poor. The reason for this may lie deep in our brains as each of us thinks and acts in different ways to achieve one common target. The same situation is with learning as there are different learning styles and techniques: ones that can suit parents, for example, are not always can be used by their children. Usually, each person has a mix of suitable for him learning styles, but still there are one or a couple of dominant ones that might be more productive. There are seven main learning styles differentiated by scientists:
- Visual or spatial (based on pictures and images);
- Aural or auditory-musical (focusing on sound and music);
- Verbal or linguistic (prefers words, texts, writing);
- Physical or kinesthetic (making use of the body parts like hands or touching with fingers);
- Logical or mathematical (characterized by using logic, tables, systems etc.);
- Social or interpersonal (group or pair learning);
- Solitary or intrapersonal (need of staying alone while learning or preference of self-study).
Depending on the dominant learning style children account for various approaches to learning, environment, atmosphere, place of studying, presence or absence of other people, distracting factors etc. It is important to create the most pleasant environment for your child, teach him or her how to take advantage of the additional materials that can be useful and soon learning will disappear from the list of challenges for your kid.
2List all the studying goals and place them in front of you for encouragement
Usually, people set two types of goals in their everyday lives: ones that are to be achieved in the long-term perspective and ones that do not require much time and can be fulfilled as quickly as possible. In the case of education, both types will be rather useful and encouraging but must be set up using a SMART method, e.g. they must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Of course, it is better to start with your ‘achievable dreams’ that are planned for the future. You can list your desired university for higher education, profession, career goals and it will help you set clear targets in schooling. First, you will determine what subjects are more important for your future and what your priorities are nowadays. By doing so, you can decide your personal commitments and devote more time to the activities that are more important. It may lead to giving up some clubs, leisure activities, and focusing on the studying, doing only those things that might be in handy for your happy future.
As a result, you will come to the conclusion how you should behave in order to achieve your targets. Such self-assessment procedure will also help you to distinguish really important for your life things from useless ones.
3Specify your study time for each day of the week
Studying always becomes an obstacle when the amount of what is necessary to learn does not fit time frames planned for this procedure. If you gather all your home assignment for the whole week and plan to do it quickly and what is more important quality on your weekends – remember, it is impossible! You will get stressful because of tied time frames and even cramming will have no results.
It is much more advisable to transform your studying into the routine of your everyday life. The constituency is a perfect studying habit that brings impressive and almost immediate results. If you want to learn how to be organized, follow these simple tips:
- Schedule your tasks for the following week or even month to see if there is time for education;
- Mark down the most and least important tasks to make compromises if necessary;
- Choose only peak performance time blocks for your studying sections;
- Determine some additional time that can be spent on extra tasks if necessary, as the number of assignments differ from time to time. If it is not necessary, you can devote it to your hobbies, for example.
Of course, it is impossible to foresee everything that awaits us the next day, week or month, but the general schedule will help you cope with the routine tasks simpler.
4Useful tips for structuring study time
There is a variety of time management techniques that can make studying more efficient, but not all of them can be applied to schooling. There are several main ways to structure the study time:
- Mix different learning styles (see chapter 1 for details);
- Attend school lessons or university lectures and then spend 1-3 hours revising everything you heard at the educational establishment;
- Start learning with the most difficult themes and subjects;
- Divide your study sessions into several blocks with 5-10 minute breaks;
- Never avoid short snacks or drinks as your organism requires energy that can be received from food too etc.
These ways are very simple and you can follow them without problem – the only condition of their efficiency is a desire to follow them, so it is up to you to decide!
5Organize a comfortable place for studying
Though it may seem not so important but the place, where you learn something plays a great role. Of course, it is better to have a well-lit study zone in the quiet place and all necessary facilities, but not every person can endure loneliness in the complete silence. Some students memorize material listening to the music or watching TV, sitting on the bench in the park or a chair in the café. Though it may seem to disturb ones, the others will appreciate such a study zone. Now we will focus on more standardized requirements to a good place of study:
- Pleasant atmosphere results in a better productivity;
- Enough space for all your belongings will make the process more comfortable;
- Good lighting is a necessity for preserving eyesight;
- Avoidance of disturbers: closed doors, switched off phone will help to concentrate on the topic;
- Study offline as the temptations of the Internet can not only cause plagiarism but also distract you from the main point.
Such a simple thing as a study zone can be of vital importance for a child. Some kids only dream of their own area and a good working place may not only fulfill a dream but also improve grades.
6Take detailed notes of the lectures or lessons
Some students find it unnecessary to write down everything that is told by the tutor during the lecture or school lesson, but that is a big mistake! Good notes can prevent you from reading long textbook passages and making additional notes. Usually, teachers provide a very brief outline of the topic accentuating only the most important points, so it is better to learn what is written in your notes than do a double work reading and writing down material.
It is not difficult to make worthy notes or substitute them with other memorizing techniques:
- Write short sentences;
- Make tables and draw diagrams instead of writing the whole text;
- Note only the most important information;
- Make use of your hand devices recording a lecture, for example;
- Use mnemonics to recall memories better etc.
The list of techniques can be rather long but it is obvious that any of them can contribute to the better learning result.
7Team up with diligent students
Some people can’t do anything without somebody’s presence and if you are a social learner, you should think of joining someone or a study group for a better result. There are different benefits of group learning: numerous repetitions, ability to clarify non-understandable points, dedicate more time for studying.
The only important fact is to find a group or partner, who can be called dedicated learners. If you join chatter-boxes, there will undoubtedly be no benefit. Pay attention to the size of the group too as it is not advisable that the number of people there exceeded 6 people.
8Remember useful tips to get the most out of the studying
There are some general conditions that may influence student’s productivity and it is important to remember a couple of simple routine rules to make studying more efficient:
- Prefer a light snack before studying as heavy meals lead to sleepiness;
- Use your mobile phones and laptops for the sake of your education;
- Have a little of physical activity before starting learning;
- Always write down assigned tasks not to forget about them and prioritize them according to the dates to see what must be done urgently and what can be postponed for later;
- Never omit such important details as numbers, dates, points as they contain the most vital data.
9Have enough sleep
Human’s body is not a robot and apart from charging it with food and drinks it also requires rest, it is important to allow your organism to relax. Either it is a short nap after schooling or an all night long dream – all this is a must for the organism. Without rest, our brain can not work properly and studying becomes completely ineffective.
A person can perform his tasks well only after at least of 8-hour night sleep. This time is required by the brain to recharge and work well again. It is not also advisable to cram a night before the exam as to reflect all the received previously knowledge the brain requires rest. Consequently, always find time for rest and make it a very important point in your routine schedule as the fresher the mind the better the results.
10Track if your studying techniques work successfully
Make sure that all the novelties you have implemented in your studying work for the better. They can’t do harm, of course, but it is more important to know if they give results. The first and the most obvious consequence of newly used techniques is the improvement of your grades. The second one is a feeling that studying is much easier than it was considered previously.
Keep track of each studying technique you decided to use and in some time you will see if it is useful enough for you personally. At the same time, be ready to re-prioritize your schedule and goals as time flies and everything changes in our lives, but proper studying techniques will be useful for you in the future career and family life too.
Following all or only some of these rules will lead you to the considerations that their efficiency is obvious. Moreover, it is important not only to get accustomed to following them but transform them into your habit – it is not easy to get rid of a habit or change it, so useful habits will only contribute to the effectiveness of student’s studying and make his or her life easier and more colorful!
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Also published on Medium.