A recent OECD PISA report on students' wellbeing revealed some significant findings.
Students identified a number of factors, including exam anxiety, poor grades, meeting assignment deadlines, peer & social pressure, non-supportive teachers (and schools), for feeling stressed about their performance at school.
It was interesting to note that students also made reference to "emotionally remote parents" adding to their stress levels. A positive flipside to this is one key finding that teens who talked with their parents at dinner reported higher levels of overall life satisfaction.
Teachers and schools play a bit role in helping their students feel happy about the life options. The OECD Chief of Staff, stated, "Together they help young people develop a sense of control over their future and the resilience they need to be successful in life."
Parents make a big difference as well. When parents spent time talking with their child and/or talking about how they were going at school, the report indicates there is a positive academic impact on the child. For example, "students who spent time talking with their parents where two-thirds of a school year ahead in science learning."
If you are a teacher, what programs and/or support do you have in place to help develop a positive learning environment for your students?
If you are a parent, what do you do at home to help your child be less anxious about schoolwork?
P.S. You might find these 15 best stress busters helpful and interesting? Best 15 Stress Busters' Tips Before Final Exam.
Sometimes we think that making a change to our lifestyle habits have to be big ones. Like when we make a New Year resolution. Or, if you are a student, when you go from one grade year to the next and you have to accommodate more time to spend on school work and studying, etc. Maybe you just need to start with really, really small changes and then let the moment grow.
BJ Fogg shares some simple strategies to help you take on a simple challenge to bring about step-by-step change and how to celebrate the moment.
Think about what change you would like to make to help you be more successful at what you do best and then give it a go .... only takes 30 seconds!
According to a recent discussion, employers are looking for prospective employees with tech skills. So while the "front end" of a students skill set may need more technology related skills no matter what the job, it does not negate the "back end" of a students skills set. This back end of enterprise or future learning skills such as:
problem solving, digital literacy, presentation, global citizenship, communication, critical thinking, and creativity - just to name a few!
Often when we are designing curriculum or planning units of work, we stop and think about what do we REALLY want students to get out of this learning or unit. A previous Principal, I worked for used the idea that we should develop our students to be counter cultural - meaning they would need creative and critical thinking to be able to achieve something with their life.
I came across this idea in a different way in my ongoing professional reading - A 21st century education: reimagining learning for a new era. In this, the author reminds the reader of 10 points to consider when thinking about what education should be in the 21st century - I particularly like number 8 which reminded me of my aim to be and develop counter cultural learners. Use this checklist and consider how your classroom is moving towards this aim and working with future skills
In today's society there is a lot of pressure on our kids. They are pressured to perform, be beautiful, fit and healthy. (Just to name a few.)
In one of our modules for Academic Edge, Knowing Me, we look closely at the natural talent and ability of the child to help them discover their genius. Yes, everyone is a genius.
We use a unique personal development and profiling tool, Talent Dynamics for Young People, to help the child discover what they are good at, what are the best roles for them in teams and groups, how they can contribute and play their part, and develop skills to apply to school, home and life.
Recently, this article, 52 Character Building Thoughts for Children grabbed my attention.
The suggestion is to use these positive statements in a variety of ways. For example, each week you could begin the class time with one of the statements. It could be placed in a prominent place in the classroom so each day the students would see it. They could discuss how it might apply to them. They could live out their week using the statement and then reflect on what they learned or what activities they engaged in.
These are my top 5 favourite statements from the list.
Which statements resonate with you?
What positive statements could you add to the list to share with your kids?
In observing student teachers, I have noticed developments in their teaching practice, over time, have been dependent upon how well they respond to problems and this seems to indicate how they learn. This, of course, is anecdotal commentary however it has had me reflecting on how grit and resilience impact student learning in general. Some teaching resources are here.
It seems there are numerous “elements” as to how to cultivate grit and resilience:
We also need to consider how people learn - 6 Scientific Principles Every Teacher Should Know – which is what we are about at Academic Edge.
It seems, therefore, that for students to be successful in their learning and study, we must incorporate:
This may be a useful diagram to use with your child or students also when you are getting them to set goals or become more aware of their learning habits.
Continuum of Motivation TM by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on work at bit.ly/continuum-motivation* Graphic design by Sylvia Duckworth
Jamie Mackenzie, an American educator and creator of fno.org coined the phrase 'The Question is the Answer' over 20 years ago. While the reference he used on his website related to developing effective questions to conduct research it can also be used powerfully to help guide student's decision making when it comes to their learning in general and more specifically their study skills and academic achievement. As educators and parents we can offer lots of advice and make suggestions about what students should do but by putting the onus back on the child to answer to strategic questions not only forces the student / child to become reflective but also empowers them to create their own solutions.
So what sort of questions are we talking about... here are a few to get you started both as an educator and parent.
What are your favourite (and least favourite) subjects and why? Do you think this impacts on how successful you are in each one? How can you change your thinking / mindset about subjects that you don't like to make them easier to handle?
What are the key skills that you need in each of your subjects to succeed? (e.g easy writing, calculations, remembering large amounts of information, analysing text etc.) How good are you at these skills? What do you need to do to improves them? What might be a goal you can set yourself that will help you improve that skill? (e.g doing a practice essay every week).
If the student failed a test you might ask - what are three things you learned from this test? What are you going to do differently next time?
To help a student understand their learning style you may ask - when can you remember information most effectively? When you hear it, see it, speak about it with friends, draw it in a picture?
When in the day is the most effective / least effective time for you to learn and remember things? The most effective time will be when you should aim to focus on learning new information. The least effective time is when you either go and have a beak, do exercise or socialise or undertake 'low stakes' academic activities.
These are just a few ideas of the kinds of questions you can ask - the trick it to ask more questions about what a student should do in a situation rather than you tell them what they should do. This could be the difference between empowering and disempowering them.
In The New Basics report published by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), digital literacy has been identified as an essential transferable skill that will allow young people to be enterprising in their work/career choices for the future.
With the changes to business models and structures, there is a need for employees to be digitally literate. 4.2 million Australian job postings from 2012 to 2015 were collected and analysed. Employers listed the enterprise skills they desired and there was a 212% increase for digital literacy (an extra note was a 158% increase in critical thinking as an essential skill).
In a nutshell, the following graphic from Media Smarts provides a good overview of the interrelated elements under digital literacy.
The Media Smarts site helps to unpack the complexity of digital literacy within an education setting. It provides detailed information about digital literacy and related digital issues (e.g. cyberbullying, online ethics, cyber security),
research and policy content, information for parents and teaching resources for teachers.
We are experienced educators passionate about students achieving their potential, and believe that to do this they need highly developed and personalised learning and study skills