Tuesday, February 20, 2007

RM January 25 - Grade does not reflect ability part 2

Good study practices

After my brush with my daughter’s annual parent-teacher progress report, among the common themes were ‘could do much better’ and ‘needs to apply herself’. Two pretty scary statements in the run up to her first State exam, the Junior Cert.

While nagging about studying is commonplace in our house, it obviously isn’t working so now it is time to try a different approach.

And I don’t mean bashing her over the head with her school books as tempted as I am, I doubt anything would get through that way.

While I have tried and tried to get her into a study routine throughout her school life, it has never taken effect. Time is now ticking by and it isn’t too late but it will be a shock to her non-studying system.

One search on the internet later and I have learned from some ‘experts’ that not all young people benefit from sitting at a desk with books layed out in front of them.
Some need to be able to move about, for these kids sitting prostrate at a desk will actually prevent them from learning. For others learning is all about what they take in visually and it is probably worth thinking about your own child and what method would benefit them best.

The same goes for music in the background. I personally think background noise is a bad thing however research does show that some need that stimulus but I would say wall and floor-shaking music defeats the purpose and don’t let your teen tell you otherwise. (Not that you would.)

Television is a big no no. It is impossible to sit in front of a telly and not be drawn to the screen so off it goes.

If possible designate an area of your home for studying, away from distractions. This can be in their room, the kitchen or in the case of my small abode, my bedroom.

In the next couple of weeks I am going to rearrange things in my room so I can put a desk there for the Young Wan to work on. There is a computer desk in her room, but I have decided there is no use nagging her anyway to make it into a work space, it isn’t going to happen.

Her books could not compete with her toiletries, make-up, non-school books and computer. So I have to come up with a better alternative and if that means her stuff strewn in my room so be it.

Organisation is key and something that is decidedly missing in the Young Wan’s psyche.

It is important to have reminders so study calendars, lists to show what’s been done and what’s left to do, not to mention tidy books and a tidy workspace all help sort out the mind.

The exam student should also be aware that studying is more than homework. When they read things, they should be taking down notes, they should be summarising what they have read, once they do these things they can then prepare flash cards/study points all of which will help reinforce the things and absorb important information they need to know.

Your student also needs your support that means regular meals, ensuring they get to bed at a reasonable time, helping with their homework where possible and when they are actually studying (not pretending) encourage them to take regular breaks to keep them fresh and ready to take in information.

All this is for starters, we are now into February, the exams are in June and the mocks are coming up in the coming weeks. It is as daunting for me as it is for her. But hopefully if we can both pull together it need not be a couple of months of hell.

Here’s hoping anyway.

Update: I wrote this two weeks ago and I wish I could say I have put the ideas into practice and can see a difference. I let her onto the computer to use the great skool.ie site only she tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to continually sneakily watch youtube. I am losing patience rapidly.

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Beccy said...

I'm dreading going through this next year, will have to try and remember the study tips!

Red Mum said...

I'll have to try and implement them...

Boliath said...

They sound good, maybe the study area should be in the living room though so you can keep an eye on her the whole time?

Poor you!

RamblingMan said...

looking back on it i now realise as a kid that i didnt know how to study - its not just about reading whats on the page and regurgitating the information in the exam.
understanding is the key - i hadn't a clue how to study and my memory was bad to boot.
maybe your daughter doesnt know how to study beneficially.