Parents are often relieved when schools offer Study Strategies classes during the school day. This time can be exceptionally helpful especially when students have after-school activities, travel to/from school is time-consuming or there is stress between the parent and student when discussing academics. But how do educators teach study skill strategies and what exactly is being taught in any study strategies class?
An Inconvenient Truth About Study Strategies
The grim reality is that students are rarely taught how to study. When polled, 73% of students in our practice have shared they were really never taught how to study and certainly not how to study effectively. When a group of private school teachers in 4-6th grades were polled, 67% believed it was the previous grade level’s responsibility to teach students how to study. Can you imagine going to work on a daily basis without having been taught how to do your job? Without educators providing strategies to study effectively, students lack the tools they need to succeed. Is it any surprise students are turned off of academics when faced with such challenges?
Study Strategies: The Ever-Important Details
If your student is recommended for a Study Strategies class or Tools class, what should you expect from that class and what questions might you want to ask, especially if you’re paying for the class or your student is receiving special education services? Here are some things to consider:
- How will I know if my student is making progress? If a teacher says, “We are working on it” that is not the answer. Countless parents reflect that their student has made an A in the Strategies class but their grades in content classes have not improved. The Effective Student Curriculum provides a grading rubric with relevant academic management skills so students understand what it takes to be successful.
- How is my student being evaluated and assessed? Students are assessed quarterly in content classes and annually against National and State standards. Why should it be any different for Study Strategies classes? If a teacher or administrator cannot be specific with this information, that is a red flag. The Effective Student Curriculum contains grading rubrics and standards of performance for the 5 critical units of academic management skills. For skills to develop, they have to be measured.
- How do you meet with my student to determine if he/she is applying what they’re learning in your class? This is the accountability loop and it is more than an athletic coach yelling at your student to ‘get your work done’. This intervention is not specific to a student’s needs, and may raise anxiety levels which immediately reduces the executive functioning abilities of the frontal lobe. Metacognitive exercises are critical components as they serve as the foundation of a healthy dialogue of awareness, feedback and adjustments.
- Is there a curriculum that is being used? This is probably the most critical question to ask. An administrator’s response that Coach X “gets boys” or Ms. Y “has taught Strategies forever” does not mean your student will learn skills they can apply. While educators want students to succeed, a framework of targeted skills (how to study – how to manage time), measurable outcomes (thinking associated with making a self-directed plan) and application to real life (grades in other classes) are critical and require measurement and generalization. Academic Management skills are measurable just like learning content in Math or English. The Effective Student Curriculum provides this framework and enlists parents, students and educators to collaborate for a common goal.
The Effective Student Curriculum: Providing Modern Strategies to Study Effectively
The good news is schools understand the need for students to have the time to complete work due to busy schedules and there are educators that want to help students develop study skills. To make sure it’s a good use of your student’s time and your resources, asking some important questions can help your student see measurable outcomes.
What’s included in the Effective Student Curriculum?
- Online course training 11 hours of training in Executive functioning and how to teach
- Comprehensive Teacher’s manual
- Pacing guides (Content Classes & Study Strategies Classes)
- Grading rubrics
- Online grading, progress monitoring, and reporting
- Mini lessons with hooks for classroom instruction
- Instructional videos for use in the classroom
- Slide presentations that can be used for teacher led direct instruction
- Printable workbook for students
- Printable handouts for parents to match pacing and lessons
- Optimal skills by grade level
- Certification process in The Effective Student™ Method
- Community support through semi-monthly webinars
Want to learn more or interested in your PTA sponsoring a teacher?