Do you feel like you’re getting too much advice? As students set up new study schedules and commitments at the new semester, the most common complaint students make is getting too much advice. Not only did they receive advice on how to manage their schedules but … study skills, organization, the ‘right’ supplies, free time, homework, test taking skills, social skills, clubs, and the list goes on. Even worse? These badgered students are receiving contradictory information. Just this past August, our family received several introduction letters from schools and teachers. (We do receive quite a few. Of our six children, five are in school this semester from higher education through 9th grade.) Just within these letters, my children found countless contradictions from one educator to another.
So, then one must ask, what is the right advice?
The right advice is what works best for you.
Just this past weekend, I was sitting with my brother and his wife. We were talking about how we study. We each had very different methods. We differed in where we studied, how we studied and even the amount of noise we liked while we studied. How did we find out what worked best for us? By trial and error. That simple.
In our home, I have a son who sits on the floor in the middle of the busy family room with noise and TV and people running around and dog hurdling his papers and doorbells and phones and … Guess what? He does great. He aces everything. Put him in a quiet room at a table and it drives him crazy and his grades suffer. His sister likes quiet. Another prefers to have music in headphones to block out everything else. The point is that we are each different even if we are related.
My greatest suggestion for my students is to take all of the advice you’ve received and compile it in one place. Go through each suggestion with a highlighter and pen. Cross out everything that you know doesn’t work for you. Highlight everything that does work for you. Of course, there may be a few things that you’ve never tried before. Try them. Then, you know if it is something to be highlighted or marked off. You decide!
As a parent or educator, encourage your child/student to try out different learning styles. They may find that something that worked one school year doesn’t work for them anymore. As you figure it out, compile it all into one file which can be digital or not. At the beginning of each school year or semester, review what you learned with your child.
The bottom line is that only you know what works best for you.
By Tracy Atkinson
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.