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Teaching Students Study Skills That Work!

Janelle Cox

As hard as teachers work to effectively communicate information to their students, they still may not see the results they are expecting. The problem may not lie in the way they teach their students, it may be a result of poor study skills. Discover how teachers can help students improve their study habits with the following tips and tricks.

Prioritize

Teaching children how to prioritize can be a difficult task. Children tend to choose their "friends" and "TV" over their homework. While this is a perfectly natural thing for children to do, it is not always the wisest decision. To help your students learn how to prioritize, ask students "How do you prioritize?" Then, as a class, discuss their answers. To help students get a sense of what is most important and how to decide what should come first, write the following list on the front board and, together, rank the list in order of importance.

  • Walking the dog
  • Watching TV
  • Studying for a test
  • Eating
  • Hanging out with friends

Organize

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Once students understand how to prioritize, talk to them about how to organize their goals. The best way to do this is to discuss what your classroom goals are for the day. Tell students their classroom goals are what they plan to do, whereas their priorities are what they have to do. As a class, brainstorm a list of goals they want to reach by the end of the day. Then, divide students into small groups to practice setting goals for the week, month, and year. This will help students understand the importance of setting goals and achieving them.

Creating a Study Space

Finding a quiet study space is the key to a positive study environment. Explain to students the difficulty they will have attempting to focus in an unruly environment. Show students what you mean by having them write a paragraph about where they study when they get home. While they are writing, make a lot of noise and try to distract the students. Then, ask students if it was difficult for them to concentrate while writing the paragraph. Discuss the importance of finding a quiet space at home to study, and talk about how they may have internal distractions as well. Divide students into small groups and have them figure out ways they can avoid internal distractions. Ideas may include: eating a snack so they are not distracted by hunger or wearing comfy clothes so they are not distracted by being uncomfortable.

Managing Time

Learning how to manage time is a skill that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives. If students learn how to do this early on, the likelihood of their having a successful home and career is much greater. To approach this concept, have students estimate how long they do each activity throughout the day. Have students start in the morning and estimate how long it took them to eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and get to school. Continue by asking them how long it took them to do their morning work, eat lunch and so on. Have them transfer that information to a color coded graph. Ask students to look closely and see if they would have spent more or less time in certain areas throughout the day. Have them compare their charts to others in the class. Then, as a class, discuss how much time should be spent on specific tasks each day.

Smart Solutions

Now that your students know how to prioritize, organize their goals, find a quiet study space, and manage their time wisely, it is now time to test their knowledge. Have students use what they have learned to create a "To Do" list. Their goal is to write down what they need to do in order of importance. Then they must organize that list and write down how long they think it will take them. After they have finished with that, they must come to class the next day and add how long it actually took them to complete what was on the list, and write down if they followed it correctly. Doing this will help students prioritize and meet their goals, while being more time-conscious. 

Do you have a great idea that will help students practice their study skills? Share it with is in the comment section below!