When teaching study skills, I don’t just explain the skills, because the student will tend to listen but then not change his behaviors. I look for ways to make sure the student uses and practices new skills and creates new habits.
When forming habits, it’s most helpful to incorporate Visible Results and Accountability.
Here are some of the strategies I use with my students:
- Keeping an assignment calendar posted in a highly visible place (bedroom door, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, etc), and using brightly colored markers to check off finished assignments. (This is often called The Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Method; you can read about it and print a calendar here.)
- Finding a responsible friend and report to one another every day.
- Being accountable to a parent.
- Being accountable to me, by requiring the student to e-mail me every evening after she’s done her homework.
Once a student knows how to study, the next step is to help them build the study habit!
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