Good Study Habits For Success In School
What qualifies me to write on this subject? A fair question for sure and one that deserves an answer if I expect you to read any further. I guess we begin with a degree in Education, grades k-12; we move on to eighteen years of teaching, grades 5-12. We toss in eighteen years of education and then for some spice we sprinkle in sixty-three years of life experience. Mix it all together and we have an opinion with some teeth to it and one I hope you will at least consider.
Admittedly I am from the old school with regards to educational theory and practice. I have always believed that you can keep advancing new schools of thought every year but nothing beats the basics. And what, you may ask, are the basics?
Read, Read and Read Some More
Reading tops the list and good-study-habits are a close second. I have seen so many students with poor grammar and poor writing skills over the years and the numbers increased with each year that I was a teacher. Absolutely nothing increases writing ability like reading. One cannot learn proper grammar without first experiencing it; that is a simple fact and one that cannot be refuted. You can teach kids to diagram sentences and you can preach the parts of a sentence until you are blue in the face, but quite frankly that is boring to the student and will not succeed. A combination, however, of basic writing principles AND reading will reap positive benefits. I have never believed that what you read is important but rather that you simply read. If your child is interested in the classics then hooray for your child; if your child is interested in romance novels then hooray for your child; find something they are interested in and then encourage them to read and read and read some more.
Does your child have a designated study time?
Structure and Consistency
Now regarding study habits: without structure and routine the connection between studying and learning will not happen. There needs to be a set time each day when your child studies and does homework. When I was going to school a time was determined by my parents and it was non-negotiable. From six to eight each evening I was expected to do my homework; if I was done early I was expected to read. There was no debate about this and no matter how many times I tried to change the terms of this parental contract my parents held firm and insisted upon it.
Peaceful, Easy Feeling
In addition, I was expected to study in a peaceful environment with no distractions. No earphones stuck to my head with rock n roll blaring in my ears; no television on to provide background distraction; no computer on so that I could communicate with my friends while studying; granted, computers did not exist when I was young but I think you understand the point. I have heard all of the excuses when I was teaching. Most kids will say that they study better with music playing or they need to be able to ask their friends questions about homework and I say it is all hogwash. What I find amazing is that many parents have fallen for these rationalizations and actually allow those distractions to happen, and then are amazed when their child does poorly in school.
Worth a watch
Parents and teachers today find themselves in a battle against technology and the winner of that battle wins the mind of the child. With computer games and video games and Facebook and Twitter and Skype and a hundred other technological toys to play with, it is no wonder that students would rather spend their time on those endeavors rather than study. Unfortunately their study habits suffer because of it and the battle continues to swing in the favor of technology. Teachers must find a way to use that technology to advance learning and parents need to make sure that technology does not obstruct learning.
I have serious concerns about education today and I am not fond of the trends I see happening; unfortunately I am only one voice. If I could change the system I would but realistically that is not going to happen; what I can do, however, is speak out, write articles and hopefully change one mind at a time. I no longer teach and I no longer have a school-age child, but the education of America’s children still affects me. Eventually we are going to have to hand off the torch to these kids; they are the future of this nation and I love this nation and I want this nation to be stronger and become what it can be….what it should be. Proper education is the only way that is going to happen; a collaborative effort between student, parent and teacher is necessary to make it happen.
2013 William Holland (aka billybuc)
"Helping writers to spread their wings and fly."