This essay was written by a student in The Expository Essay I at HEROES Academy. This student was asked to write an expository essay on any topic related to education. The student formulated a question before researching and writing. How can the public school system incorporate the teaching of study skills for the most successful results in students?
Students learn multiple skills at public schools such as arithmetic, world history, and chemistry. Almost every field of work and study is covered by public schools, but there is one essential skill that students lack, study skills. Study skills are the basis of all learning; it is learning how to learn in the first place. Most students make it through at least a few grades where all they have to do is complete busy-work to get an A+. However, as schooling goes on, these same students are the ones failing their classes due to lack of knowing just how to study. Since they were not taught skills like taking notes, time management, and test prep beforehand, they have no idea how to get their grades up, understand more of the information presented to them, and be overall successful students. Plus, study skills show students how they can learn, so once they understand how to go about tackling a subject, they will be able to learn anything they desire. Schools must incorporate the teaching of study skills to correspond to different learning styles; however, they should also teach the skills at the appropriate age.
There are four dissimilar types of learners, kinesthetic, visual, auditory, and literate (reading/writing). Kinesthetic learners learn best through active demonstration of the subject matter. For example, science labs and experiments are great ways for kinesthetic learners to understand topics. Visual learners learn better when information is presented in a more artistic or picture form. For example, when teaching a visual learner, graphs, charts, pictures, and videos are best. Auditory learners learn best in environments where there are people talking to them about specific topics. These learners learn well in group or class discussions of the topics. They also pick up a lot more information from a text by listening to it being read to them than actually reading it, unlike the literate learners. Literate learners, or reading/writing learners, learn best when they are required to read passages and write prompts about topics. For example, writing an essay about a topic or doing a read-up on it would be enough for this type of learner. In the end, however, nobody is 100% one type of learner or the other. Students are almost always a combination of multiple. Figuring out the most prominent learning style of an individual is helpful in the overall learning process as it can help teachers and the administration understand how their students learn. Thus, they can shape the curriculum accordingly.
The three most important study skills for students to learn are time management, note taking, and test preparation. Time management is a skill not only used in school, but also in college and adult life. Learning how to manage time can also help students when they have multiple assignments due; they can regulate the amount of time to do each task and mend it to the predicted time it will take to complete said task in relation to themselves. Meanwhile, note taking is more useful in the later years of schooling and college, as then is time that students must take notes from lectures. The overall idea of note taking idea is not only about taking notes while the instructor is talking of giving a lecture, but also taking notes from pieces of literature or information presented to the student or individual. By honing in on what is most important, the student will better understand the text. Finally, the skill that confuses most students is test prep. It is usually tricky because there are so many ways to go about it. Some people find that it works better to just look over notes while others need to relearn most of the curriculum. Test prep is different for each individual as because everyone has their own style of learning.
Time management is a key skill in not only school but college and adult life. It consists of many factors such as scheduling, predicting the time slot of each task, and some basic arithmetic. First off, finding a little time in the day to schedule the most important tasks that need to be done can really help make the process of doing the work a little less daunting. Even just simply making a list of things that need to be done can make the goal of finishing the assignment more achievable. For literate learners, scheduling can be done in a planner or in a list, as writing a simple list will help this learner best. However, it is different for the other types of learners. Auditory learners can make a list of things they need to do and read it aloud to themselves to make sure everything is right. Visual learners can draw pictures or images to represent certain tasks. They can also use a calendar as it has more room for creativity with scheduling. With kinesthetic learners, a way to schedule things is to have 3D pieces on a calendar so they can move things around. It usually helps for them to actually feel their way through the process rather than just look at it. Schools can teach time management at a very young age, as it is a skill that takes some time to master. The recommended age would be around the start of elementary school so young students understand the value of time and how to use it to their advantage for not only work, but at home endeavors.
Note taking is a skill that is more used in the later grades and can be extremely useful in the learning process. It helps students understand the most important points about the topic of interest and leave the superfluous info behind. A tip that all types of learners can take into account when taking notes, especially during a lecture, is to shorten words and phrases. Don’t use a sentence where a phrase can be used, and don’t use a phrase when a word is more suited. For literate learners, it is easiest to organize notes in a neat order and written notes (handwritten is best). For visual learners, taking written notes can be a bit confusing, so adding in symbols or small pictures to represent key points, as well as using different colors, can facilitate the process immensely. For auditory learners, the best form of dissecting information from a lecture is to just listen to it, maybe even record it and listen to it later. Then, they can go at their own pace while taking their notes. With a written text, auditory learners can put it into a voice reader mode to help as well. With kinesthetic learners, taking notes is a tricky process. Sometimes, having a specific type of pen or paper can help making taking notes easier due to the specific feel of the utensils. They can also turn their notes into a mini project to understand the topic more. Schools should consider the importance of taking notes in understanding topics and teach it at a younger age than high school. Starting with middle school is the best age as students have a shift from being in one class all day to multiple classes. As they adapt to the change in the situation, they can simultaneously adapt to the new process of taking notes.
Test preparation is a difficult subject to tackle as there are many ways of going about it. However, this also makes it the most pliant as it can change to fit different learning styles easier. For literate learners, the best way of tackling a study session is looking over articles about the topic, dissecting notes to pull out more definite key points, and by doing prompts from the given textbook. Literate learners also do well with flashcards, as reading definitions and terms helps them best. With visual learners using notes to make newer, more organized notes can be helpful. A lot of times, making flowcharts and diagrams of terms and topics in the subject can help the visual learner connect ideas and understand what they are. Also, looking over resources and turning them into more understandable drawings or symbols can aid them. For auditory learners, watching lots of videos with a lot of talking about the subject can assist them in studying. Also, creating fun acronyms and mnemonics may be best for this type of learner as they can remember through the sounds of words. Plus, mnemonics are easy to remember and fun. Kinesthetic learners work best when they have a hands-on activity, so it might be best for them to study by keeping their finger busy while studying. Whether it be playing with a rubix cube or doing tapping tricks with a pen; keeping the hand busy will allow them to focus better. Kinesthetic learners may also study while doing an activity that doesn’t need complete thinking. For example, they can fold clothes, eat a snack, or make doodles on the paper to keep their body busy while their brain focuses on studying. Schools must also do their job, though. They can provide different resources that accommodate the needs of all the types of learners and teach students how to prepare for a test every so often to make sure students understand what they need to do and what resources they can use.
Everyone learns differently, and schools must take that into account when making different activities or assignments in the curriculum, specially the idea of incorporating the teaching of study skills. Study skills are important to master for any student who plans on being successful and understanding the material presented to them. Schools can aid students through multiple ways other than simply changing the curriculum. By actually teaching students how to learn, they have so many more opportunities than if they were simply given a topic and told they needed to study for it. As a Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie claimed, “You can give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime”. Teaching children how to learn falls under similar circumstances. If schools just give students information and make them memorize it, they will understand it until the test day and forget it soon after. But if schools teach students how to learn themselves, they will understand the topics for the rest of their lives, and be able to learn other topics of their interest without the assistance of another individual. By teaching students how to learn at a young age and continuing to teach it throughout schooling, they will be able to understand subjects more easily and become more successful individuals.