Many students often become disenchanted with their education and feel thwarted when their grades are not a direct reflection of the effort they put into their school work. With so much emphasis on grades and test scores, it is quite conceivable that students can become consumed with getting a “good grade” and overlook the importance and joy of learning, which often results in the success they desire. In addition, the format of a class can also have an adverse effect on a students perceived performance due to limited assessment opportunities (e.g. only a midterm and a final exam which make up a large percentage of one’s grade). Being hyper focused on grades takes away from the ultimate goal which is learning concepts and internalizing that knowledge.
Having the ability to acquire, incorporate, and apply knowledge effectively are requisite skills for success in the next century. Learning is crucial to one reaching their full potential. I am certain that everyone can recall a time in their life when they enjoyed learning something. Without a doubt, that joy came from a positive and successful experience. Hence it is context bound. Students tend to focus on learning rather than grades when there is a correlation between what they are learning and how it can be useful in their lives. Consequently, they become more committed to learning. However, they should not rely solely upon their teachers. Students can play a critical role in their success. So how can students help themselves and take control of their learning? Here are four ways it can be done.
1. Develop Effective Study Habits - Create a realistic study schedule. Think about what work needs to be done and how much time you have to complete it. Also find a “study space” that is conducive to studying. This is very important due to a multitude of distractions (e.g. cell phones, computers, and televisions). In addition, know your learning style (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic) and use it for all subjects.
2. Ask For Help - There is no reason to ever say “I didn’t know.” There are too many resources available. The only way to obtain answers is to ask questions. Speak to the teacher before or after class or ask a friend or classmate for help (sometimes you will better understand their explanation). Use the Internet. There is a lot of basic information (e.g. unit of measurement conversions and "How To" video clips) on the Internet that is literally at one's fingertips and can be accessed almost immediately.
3. Be Organized - Create a unique system that works well for you. Have folders and binders that are clearly labeled along with a planner to write down due dates for homework, short/long term projects, and miscellaneous reminders for classes. This will prevent the loss of handouts, notes etc, and you will have easy access to them when needed.
4. Maintain A Positive Attitude - “Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.” ~Tom Blandi
To succeed in doing something requires determination, effort and a positive attitude. Instead of complaining about the work and what you can’t do, think about what you CAN do, and get it done!