A couple of months back, I was conducting a session with students of Grade IX and X in a school on Study Skills and Time Management. In the course of one of the activities, students were asked, ‘reasons that affect their study time at home‘. I have tried to group them here for better clarity and understanding.
1. Study space:
It appears that many students struggle to find a space in the house that they can use for quite study. In fact according to students, lack of access to a quite space was the number one obstacle to productive study. In many homes children share their room with their siblings.
Students need peace and quite with fever distractions and interruptions for creative thinking and recall. It is therefore important for parents to set norms for use of space at home. Having a clearly defined study hour that is sacrosanct would support community living and academic learning.
2. Study schedule
Almost all students sit down for their study without any intended agenda, plan, schedule or goal. Students should be encouraged to have a broad plan, a medium plan and a short plan that would provide them direction and help them to review their progress and achievement.
3. The ever increasing distractions
It was interesting to note that students identified their phone, computer, television, video games as their biggest distractions. In fact, almost all students wanted to understand how they could address this. Strategies, such as, curfew time, limited access, taking parents support or simply disabling the notification feature or keeping the phone face down were discussed.
4. Conflicting aspirations
Students have aspirations and yes, parents have aspirations for them too. Parents need to understand what the students want, offer them advise, open opportunities for them to explore more, have robust conversations regarding their plans and then support their children in the choices that they make. Due diligence is important but deciding what their children should do or not do will not only confuse the child but also not empower the child to make valuable
choices for himself or herself in the future.
Many students felt that this lack of clarity regarding their future hinders concerted effort that they could probably put in their studies.
5. Perceived competition
Some students identified competition as their fuel to work harder and smarter. Whereas, some others felt that just thinking about the competition in the class made them feel inadequate. Students need to be explained that there will always be someone more smarter, sharper, funny, happy, brighter, intelligent then them and that it is okey.
The competition is with oneself. Have I learnt something today? Did I accomplish the agenda that I had set for myself? How can I do this better and faster with accuracy? These are some of the questions that they need to focus on and not necessarily what their peers are doing or what they are studying.
Know your students:
It cannot be stressed enough that teachers must therefore know their students. Well, for that matter so should parents know their children. If teachers know the challenges their students face, they will be much better prepared to guide their students and equip them with strategies to make their study time effective and successful.
For me conducting this workshop was an example of unintended learning.
Observe students closely. You will undoubtedly learn from them.