If your teen student is not getting the grades that they want or they are super stressed out trying to get those grades, then they are not doing one of these three things in the Recipe for Academic Success.
1. Using their learning style when taking notes and studying.
2. Using their planner.
3. Talking to their teachers about what they can do better.
Most students may be doing one or two of these "ingredients", but it takes doing ALL three at the SAME time in order to achieve the most academic success.
There have been numerous studies done on the topic of learning styles. In Academic Life Coaching, we keep it simple and efficient by focusing on three learning styles that mimic our senses: visual (seeing), audio (hearing) and kinesthetic (touch). When students are self-aware of their primary learning style, they can incorporate it into their studying and note taking. For example, visual learners can practice creating pictures in their head while reading or use a highlighter in their notes and take a mental "snap shot" of how their notes look. Audio learners thrive by making verbal summaries of the information and saying it out loud with a partner. Flashcards are important for all learning styles, but the act of making them is especially key for kinesthetic learners as they can touch and separate them into different piles. There's a link below to take a quiz to find out your Primary Learning Style.
With technology these days, many students only rely on their classroom's website or digital calendar to keep track of their tasks. However, I still insist on the old-fashioned hard copy planner that has monthly pages at-a-glance as well as weekly pages to write daily assignments. Students need to get in the habit of using their planners every day in every class. If there is no homework in a class, then write "no homework." As soon as a teacher hands out a syllabus (or posts it online) with upcoming test dates or projects or other "biggies", write it in the monthly page and weekly page. Getting in the habit of looking at the monthly page every few days mentally prepares you for what's coming up. Then, use the weekly page to plan when you will move into action. Students often may write down the actual test date, but they do not schedule what day they need to start preparing. Get in the habit of "Sunday Night Planning." Every Sunday night, take a few minutes to see how the week looks and fill in anything that you may have missed. This helps with mentally preparing for the week to avoid any stressful surprises.
Talking to teachers
The last step that successful students take is talking to their teachers about how they can do better. Teen students rarely practice empathy, and think from their teacher's perspective. What is it that their teachers really want? Teachers want their students to learn and understand the material that they teach. They want to help. With that in mind, students should ask their teachers in-depth questions like, "What can I do to best understand the material?" or "This is how I am studying now, what suggestions do you have on how I can do it better?" These questions are more useful than simply asking how one can get an A in the class. Remembering that teachers want them to succeed will help students have more confidence to approach their teachers.
Click here and scroll down for a quiz to determine your Primary Learning Style
The Recipe for Academic Success is not meant to be an easy, quick fix to solve academic stress over night. Consciously doing all three steps takes effort, hard work, patience and determination. It serves as a strategy and action plan to give students more control to move forward toward what they want. They may know that they want better grades, but this is a good starting point on HOW to get there. Like most things in life, you will get as much out of it as you put in. If students work in the three "ingredients" in the Recipe for Academic Success with a dash of their own system of recovery when they get knocked off track, then the rising confidence of experiencing better outcomes will prove to be quite sweet.
:-) Hayden Lee, Certified Academic Life Coach for Teenagers