Teaching Study Skills


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Poor performance on exams and assignments has compelled teachers to come up with creative ways to help their students learn proper study habits. Recently, three veteran educators have come up with their own game plans to win the battle against academic mediocrity; they have devised ingenious methods in teaching study skills.

1. The Breakfast Club

One teacher tried every strategy she could think of to get her students to develop some semblance of study skills; she used the lunch period and after school hours to meet but her study sessions couldn’t compete with extra-curricular activities or family responsibilities. By process of elimination, she offered to meet her students during mornings; add some pancakes and a catchy name – the Breakfast Club was born.

2. Defining Good Study Habits

A teacher noticed that her students believed in urban study myths such as the amount of time spent studying is directly proportional to comprehension; good grades depend on the teacher’s good graces, and plain simple luck. Instead of dispelling the myths head on; she came up with creative suggestions that rival the urban myths in terms of the interest factor but teaching the student how to study: study while waiting in the lobby; while setting hair or applying make-up; and taping a review sheet on the bathroom to be read while shaving, brushing teeth and so on.

3. Coming Attractions

Coming attractions are a type of equalizer for the slower students to catch up with the class braniacs. By previewing future lessons and materials, the students developed confidence and initiative; knowing that they can catch up or even be ahead of the class lessons simply by turning one page further.

4. Set an example! Students model themselves after adults in their lives, so don’t think for a moment that they aren’t watching how organized you are! Give students examples and show them your calendar (or a modified/simplified version) and explain it.

5. Tip of the day. Set aside a few minutes at the same time everyday to go over a study skill such as time management, setting goals, study environment, graphic organizers. Then, once students have some ideas, integrate and reinforce these skills with each assignment, with examples.

6. Practice makes perfect. Most students can read about and understand the concepts and ideas, but need help applying them. Integrate skills like note taking and outlining into the class whenever possible. Give lots of examples.

These teachers advise those who plan to come up with similar study skill building programs to not be discouraged if participation level is low at the start; after all, every great journey begins with a single step.

Robert Mckenzie is a former teacher and writer. Visit his study skills website for more information and Study Skills Lesson Plan


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