Teaching Your Students to Learn Effectively

Teaching your students

As educators, we often hear of our students lacking motivation to learn and study the subjects that we are teaching. Often, we’re concerned with the quality of our teaching in the classroom and whether it brings out the desired response from our students. Yet, another important part of students learning is their ability to revise what they have learnt in class in their own free time. Students can understand the concepts taught from their own point of view and at their comfortable pace since lessons are taught at an average speed in classrooms. Some methods of studying are inherently more fun and effective than others and they can give rise to profound differences in passion and motivation for the subject.

Find Out Where You Work Best

The human brain is complex and often irrational. It is not difficult to trick our brain into thinking studying is fun by associating it with ‘fun things’. Thus, it is not a surprise that students prefer settings where they are more productive. Some students tend to work better in noisy, busy environments and yet some prefer the quiet and quaint libraries. Some prefer to study at home and some at a café. Some prefer to study with friends and some study alone. Teach your students to find their ideal location, timing and atmosphere and stick to the habit. They will find studying a lot more fun as they will become more productive at the same time.

Have a Purpose

It is not a surprise to many that the students who are the most ambitious also do the best in school. These people have a purpose for studying that goes beyond scoring . Yet, the fact that not all student are such high achievers does not mean that students should chug aimlessly at their books without a greater purpose in mind. For some low income students, it could mean doing well to get a scholarship or qualify for financial aid in high school. For some students with a talent for sports, it could mean getting into college to continue pursuing sports professionally. Once students have a goal to work towards, it becomes much easier to invest the hours into yielding the results they desire. Goal-setting is an underemphasized technique that teachers should utilize more to bring out the best in their students. Teachers have an important role to play in students’ lives as they are the primary motivator and mentor for these students.

Plan Your Time

One of the most valuable skills and habits that teachers can impart to their students is the ability to plan their time. Most students leave too much revision till the last minute before the examinations. Teach your students to do constant and consistent revision during the year. Not only do they learn better, research has also proven that cramming does not work. Teach your students to create a weekly routine. Everyone has 168 hours a week. If one subtracts the time for school lessons, sleeping, traveling and eating, most people won’t have much time left for studying and other social activities. Planning the left-over time is therefore crucial to any students learning. The student who learns to manage his time from a young age will learn a good habit that will serve well in the years to come. Furthermore, it also teaches them the importance of essentials such as getting enough rest, exercise and a good diet.

Reward Yourself

Many students simply do not like studying and cannot find the motivation to do so. There is an excellent way to help circumvent this: teach them instead of merely grinding their time away at your books, take short breaks from time to time to allow their brains to associate rewards with time spent. Allowing a short treat of 15 mins of social media after 2 hours of studying would go a long way in making their studying more bearable. Other rewards could include a Starbucks drink, a shopping spree at the end of examinations, or some time spent with their friends after a long week of studying.

Focus On Achieving Progress, Not Perfection

Very often, students focus too much on achieving the desired outcome and not the progress that is necessary. From the planning stage, one should set more process-based goals instead of outcome based goals. For example, teach your students not to sets merely goals like getting an A for this subject by the end of the year. Teach your students to break this outcome goal into smaller process based goal such as doing one math practice questions or learning 5 new English words every day. Teach students to stick to your process goals and eventually they will achieve their outcome goals!

We teachers don’t just teach our students content-based knowledge based on the subjects we teach. We are the primary coach and mentor for our students when they are still learning how to learn. Teaching them how to learn effectively and a growth mindset gives them perhaps the most valuable life skill they can pick up in schools. It’s the greatest gift a teacher can give to a student.

Isaiah is an education technology writer, currently serving as the head of content at Yodaa, an ed-tech startup based in Singapore. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Law. In his free time, he researches on online marketing, education tips and technological trends.