“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle, 384-322 BC)
Today we continue to focus on boosting learning development at home, and onto another area with which many people, not just children could benefit: effective study habits. But why? All that is need is to turn off the TV, place the book in front of them, and get them to focus! The bad news is that effective learning is a little more complicated, the good news, effective study habits are less complicated. As the old maxim goes: It isn’t what you do, it the way that you do it. You can put hours and hours into something every day, but if your approach is ineffective, you will only see limited results.
The study habits that I recommend today, are simple to implement, will help learners get more out of their learning time, and will produce much better results for their efforts. Best of all, they can work for everyone, from primary school kids to university students and adult learners. The hardest part, as with many things, is getting started!
To get you started, I am going to recommend seven practical things you and your children can do to develop better study habits (I call them the “lucky seven”);
- Be supportive! They need regular support, patience and understanding, just because they have had a lesson on the topic doesn’t make them experts, let them know that it is OK to make mistakes (because they will happen, whether you want them to or not!). Mistakes are an essential part of learning, so encourage then to embrace making mistakes.
- Make space: Where possible, an allocated study space is needed that is free from distractions such as the TV or games consoles, it needs to be kept ordered and free from clutter. Learning materials only!
- Lay down the law: Discuss some ground rules regarding their study time and approach. Examples include: what time they will study each day and for how long, they must always keep their study space tidy, no distractions in their study space, or any playtime until study tasks are completed.
- Practice time management: Connects with habit number 3, create a study planner/schedule to better handle the study load, and stick with it. Also, arrange a time each day when studies are to begin. This is where you need to be strict, no slack-off or bargaining to do other things instead. Routine is essential to good learning habits.
- Give credit where credit is due: Remember to give praise for a job well done, explain what you like about the work and what was done well. This can be a great motivator, especially for children, as they can be very conscious of what their parents think of them.
- Go easy on the rewards: The occasional reward is fine, but be careful not to over-do it. The goal is to nurture a love of learning, or at least an understanding of its importance and as a regular habit. If you make learning all about rewards, the work will always contingent on the reward, once the rewards fail to please, performance will decline and interest in study will cease.
- Set regular learning goals: This will make sure that study stays on track and you are up to date on what needs to be learned. This is a good reason to be in regular contact with teachers and speak with them about homework tasks. The goals can be coupled with some rewards that can be given at, say when achieving the desired score on a test, or successfully completing a project. Remember, don’t give rewards too often (see habit number 5)!
Consistency is the key to holding all of these together, do these regularly and diligently and positive study habits will develop in no time. I have included some links below to help you look more into how you can help to develop good study habits.
Good luck, and if you have any ideas and suggestions for topics or issues you would like me to cover, or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me either on the online form or email at firstname.lastname@example.org