Particularly as students move into high school, parents are always looking for ways to encourage their children to take ownership of their studies. It’s a skill that will not only help a student navigate through their secondary schooling but will also be a valuable life skill as they move into whatever post-secondary path they choose. With this in mind, here are 4 tips to help to develop a more independent student:
- Make it About Their Goals, Not Their Grades – It can sometimes be difficult for a student to be motivated simply by achieving higher grades and telling a student that they need high grades to meet their goals can sometimes “fall of deaf ears”. So instead of simply telling them that they need to achieve high grades to reach their goals, why not show them? Ask them “what would you like to do when you finish high school?” See what their goals are, and then do some research with them to see what is required to enter their desired programs or pursue their desired paths. Now, they will be motivated by achieving what THEY want to achieve, and not simply by getting better grades.
- Provide Them with Resources – Whether it’s a dedicated space in your home for completing homework and studying, or setting a student up with a tutor, providing students with the resources that they need to achieve their goals can go a long way in helping a student be more independent, and feel like they have access to what they need to accomplish their goals.
- Create Structure in Their Day – Often, the hardest part of being an independent learner is making time in the day to study and complete homework. Particularly as students move into high school, and other competing commitments (e.g. sports, social life) start to make it challenging to find time to study. Support your student by helping them create set times of day that are dedicated to homework and studying. Whether its first thing after school or just before dinner, help them find times that will work for them and their schedule.
- Encourage Study Groups / Social Learning – Often students simply find homework and studying boring, and would rather be spending time with friends, or engaging in other social activities. So why not encourage them to combine the two? Study groups can be a great way to motivate a student to complete homework and study, as it allows them to spend time with their friends while doing it. Staying on task come sometimes be challenging, so be sure to provide a space that is conducive to work and learning. Social learning is also a great way to develop teamwork and collaboration skills, as students will often work through questions together and support each other.
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