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Helpful Skills - For You and Your Students

posted Sep 2, 2018, 3:50 AM by HSD Principal   [ updated Sep 2, 2018, 4:00 AM ]
I'd like you all to read this article on Teaching Smarter in its entirety when you get the chance. It's got a lot of good advice in it about doing things in a way that keeps your students learning while keeping you from classroom burnout. And Always Find Time for Family!


In "The Enduring Value of Study Skills," authors Fisher and Frey state that students often need more coaching in study skills than teachers realize. They categorize what students need into three areas:
  • Study tasks – for example, practice testing, deliberate practice, and organizing knowledge and concepts;
  • Metacognition – monitoring one’s own learning through self-questioning;
  • Dispositions and motivations, including setting goals and planning for study.
So teaching students how to succeed goes beyond just skills. It requires addressing their mindsets and thoughts before and during studying. 

As a bonus, Fisher and Frey give five practices that research has shown have been linked to higher levels of student success:
  • Practice tests– These can be very effective if students get feedback on the results. That’s because they trigger the “retrieval effect” – locating and bringing information to mind, which strengthens long-term memory. Retrieval also makes students metacognitively aware of the current status of their knowledge, giving them a realistic sense of what they know and what needs more study.
  • Distributed practice– Retrieving information at intervals over several days is far more effective than rereading or highlighting. In fact, rereading may make things worse by giving students the feeling that they know the material without realizing that their ability to retrieve information hasn’t improved. “[N]o athlete would think that one long practice session just before a match or game would be wise,” say Fisher and Frey. “Practices occur on regularly scheduled intervals, and study sessions require the same condition.” 
  • Study context– Study skills should be taught in the subject area in which they will be used – for example, Cornell notes in social studies classes. 
  • Distraction during study– Studies have shown that today’s adolescents rarely study more than 9-10 minutes without being interrupted by their devices – yet they believe they’re “focused.” These distractions, along with the myth of multitasking, take their toll, both on the quality of study and students’ anxiety about not having enough time. Fisher and Frey believe the best approach is to challenge students to turn their devices off for 15 minutes when they study, then treat themselves to a one-minute technology check, then get back to work – and gradually expand the tech-free window over time.
  • Metacognition– Fisher and Frey suggest sharing research about study skills with students so they understand and are empowered to use recent insights about what works and what doesn’t.
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