What is a school meant for, primarily? It is an environment that provides opportunity for a student to learn under the proper guidance of a teacher. A teacher-taught rapport is one of the primarily essential conditions required for successful teaching as well as learning. A student is to prepared to slowly and gradually become an independent learner so that whatever he has learnt can be applied to any life situation that the learner may face, currently or in the future. Learning thus could become meaningful only when what has been learnt is used well in an effective manner in the right and appropriate context.
To master the subjects taught in the school, students need to have independent study skills. Some students may acquire this skill by his own efforts; some might need help. This is all the more true in our country, where annual written examinations are conducted to evaluate a child’s annual level of learning. The three-hour paper will actually assess the learning of the whole year in the subjects. This therefore demands that a student learns, retains and reproduces in writing, the correct answers to all the questions given for testing the child’s knowledge in the subjects.
Many potentially good children may not be truly gifted with these skills, thus tending to reflect poorly in their progress cards.
To help children not to face any such lacunae, children can be taught to develop good study skills even when the child is the primary classes and reinforce this skill as he/she progresses towards the middle and high school classes.
There is one group of children, who fall in the category of children with learning disabilities in India, 10% of the school going children fall in this category. Such children seem to have cognitive defects in learning such as deficit in thinking, memory, attention and reasoning. Such children will be found to be disorganized in their tasks and situations. They will be found to have difficulty managing their academic tasks, too. They are labeled ‘strange’ by their teachers, parents and peer group figures. Training such children in study skills can definitely help them be better organized in academia as well as in other general situations of learning.
What are study skills, basically?
These skills are actually enhancers to the methods or strategies a student adopts, to learn the content of his/her study materials, effectively and independently and reproduce them contextually, to the closest approximation to the content.
The habits a student acquires and practices in mastering the study skills is what would spell his/her success in terms of high scores in the examinations. Each one has his/her own uniqueness of study habits. There is no one single panacea for success in examinations dependent on one’s study habits. But there are a few simple strategies a student may adopt to improve study habits and develop good skills. These involve
- Good listening to what is being taught
- Taking notes of the gist of what is being taught; the key words
- Storing in memory the content matter of the subject.
- Systematic organization of the learnt subject matter and
- Responding appropriately and correctly when asked to examine the student orally or in writing.
To evolve a systematic set of pathways for an individual learner to acquire good study skills, it is important to remember certain learner characteristics and learning styles.
Major factors that contribute to learning styles include
- Readiness to learn
- Learning environment
- Individual learning style and
- Material to be learnt.
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