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STUDY SKILLS FOR the 21st century

The world at work has changed radically since last century. So, too, has the world at school.

Students are no longer required to simply learn a bunch of facts and demonstrate having learnt them by vomiting up answers to “who, what, where” type questions. Sure, naming, identifying, classifying and explaining still form part of all assessments, but more and more emphasis is being placed on critical thinking, assimilating, synthesising and creating. The old-fashioned ways of learning by rote are no longer sustainable. Students HAVE to understand their material fully and MUST be able to think about it from a variety of different perspectives, as well as engage critically with the content. In order to do so, successfully and sustainably, effective study skills need to be learned as early as possible.

We teach what we know

It’s human nature to assume other people think and learn the same way you do. They don’t. Everyone learns differently and has different learning strengths. I see parents teaching their children the same approaches to studying that worked (or, in some cases – didn’t work) for them as children. This is not always successful, because:

  • content and methods of testing have changed
  • your child is an individual who learns differently from you

Working with the Brain’s Strengths

Thanks, in great part, to the ability to do functional MRI’s and, thus, see what the brain is doing whilst someone is conscious, there have been enormous discoveries in neuroscience over the past decade. We now know about neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout our lives) and how we are able to literally “change our minds”. This knowledge has had a huge impact on the field of learning. Using current neuroscience, study skills can be honed to create optimum learning, understanding and retention for all subjects.

Study Skills are also Life Skills

As well as the skills required to get down and memorise, understand and synthesise the course content, study skills also involve important life skills. Some of these are:

  • Organisational Skills like setting goals, planning and time management
  • Mental Flexibility and the ability to think critically, adapt and change one’s viewpoint
  • Motivation, Resilience and the ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Problem Solving and Resourcefulness

The Importance of Study Skills for the New World at Work

A quick google search will reveal a plethora of articles on the most important qualities companies are looking for in their new “hires”. Gone are the days when a University Degree or Diploma would guarantee you a job. “Soft Skills’ and emotional intelligence play a far greater role than ever before in ensuring the “dream job”. The skills highlighted in the bulleted list above are four of the most important skills employers seek; in any sector.

Enrol in a Course

What are you waiting for? Enrol your child in a Study Skills course now! Give them tools they need to ace their exams AND their future careers!

CLICK HERE to find out more about TLC Study Skills Workshops in Durban in April/May, 2019.

More Do’s and Don’t for Healthy, Happy End-Of-Year-Exam-ing

Following on from my previous article, 4 Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing (click link for article), here are some more tips for parents of exam-writing students:

5. Do: monitor screen time

Much has been written about the evils and benefits of cellphones, tablets and other screen-based devices. Studies have revealed both positive and negative effects of screens on children and teens. One thing is certain, though – we live in a digital age and our children will use devices; get used to it! However, experts all agree that too much screen time is bad for us; bad for our mood, our physical health and our brains. Continue reading More Do’s and Don’t for Healthy, Happy End-Of-Year-Exam-ing

4 Do’s and Don’t’s for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing

It’s that crazy time of year again: END OF YEAR EXAMS! The stakes are high and the stress is higher. Students who are in danger of failing are in crisis and so are their parents. Teachers are bogged down and under extreme pressure to finish the year’s curriculum, ensure all their students are equipped to pass and complete a mountain of marking and admin before break-up day. The atmosphere in most schools … and homes … is tense, to say the least.

How can you, as a parent, be most effective in helping your child navigate this stressful ambit most successfully?

Continue reading 4 Do’s and Don’t’s for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing

Eek! They want me to speak!

If you’re someone who fears speaking in public, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in the same boat as 74% of the world’s population who also suffer from glossophobia; the fancy name for this fear. There’s a biological imperative for having this fear. It goes back millennia and is embedded in our DNA and neurological pathways. Continue reading Eek! They want me to speak!

First Additional Language for the Win!

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein

The benefits of bilingualism are manifold. Recent research into brain plasticity and functioning are revealing more and more advantages to learning a second (and third) language. From improved cognitive ability  and higher test results across all subjects, to behavioral improvements and increased tolerance and empathy, the list goes on and on. Hey – being bilingual even wards off dementia, helps prevent Alzheimers and delays brain atrophy by about 7 years!

With all these benefits, why do our South African school students (and their parents) complain so much about their requisite First Additional Language? Shouldn’t the inclusion of a compulsory second language in our school curriculum be applauded and encouraged? All the studies on bilingualism concur that it makes no difference what language is being acquired; the benefits remain the same. Continue reading First Additional Language for the Win!

Glossophobia: fear of public speaking

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”  Jerry Seinfeld

Having always been one of the freakish minority who actually enjoy speaking in public, I have often wondered why people allow themselves to continue through life with this very real phobia, without doing something about it. I mean, we all have to do it at some point; may as well learn how to enjoy it, right? Continue reading Glossophobia: fear of public speaking

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Years ago, when I  still owned my educational theatre company – Hooked on Books – I included a poem by Jack Prelutsky in the Senior Primary show. I had my actors sing the poem, with accompanying choreography, to the tune of George Michael’s Faith (which will give you a clearer indication of how many years ago I’m talking about 😉 )

Go on, sing it (you’ll need to extend some words and add in a few “oh-ohs” to make it scan – but you can do it): Continue reading Homework! Oh, Homework!