As an academy we are now planning reopening and encouraging students to join us throughout this summer in order to prepare themselves towards the new academic year. Students have faced unprecedented worries about their education, ones which would have seemed farfetched only a matter of 6 months ago. Over the next few weeks my focus will be to encourage the students to make the most of the forth coming summer period and prepare for the impending academic year. Making this their best year yet.
For all students thoughts are turning to the next steps; most students will return to school or move on to university. Whatever their choice there is more work ahead.
At Mallorca Tutoring Academy we have seen some outstanding results for the students we have helped over the years, however as educational normality beckons our message to everyone returning to school in September is one of focus and determination during the next few weeks in order to be prepared to return to school effectively and with confidence. We need to start now! Both parents and tutors have a role from day one.
I would dearly love it if parents could promote a change of mind set for students:
It’s a marathon not a sprint!! Ongoing and continued practise and preparation are the key to success. This is even more significant this year.
There’s an additional reason for urgency this year. Research has shown losing academic ground during the summer months or “summer learning loss”. I have written about this many times and am certain that without intervention, the gaps could widen even further this summer given how much class time children have already missed.
So, like any skill, it is about proper planning and preparation - If you sat and watched me teach a class on running, and you understood 100% of everything I said, but you weren’t actually actively running, would you feel comfortable going out for a 10km run on Saturday? How about a 3km run?
What if you showed up for my coaching sessions every week, diligently listening to what I said, and running on the track for a half hour a few times a week. Would you be comfortable going out for a 3 or a 10 km run now?
How about if you put off all your practise until the day before you were going to do the 10km or the 3km run. Could you run now?
Effective studying is a lot like running. Students need to practise the subject over a sustained time to be able to really do it.
This will mean a structured support programme which includes disciplined self-study and often some effective coaching, mentoring or tutoring.
To perform at a 3 or 10km study event -- an exam, an IGCSE, A level or Selectivdad means regular extended practise. This is why we recommend students practise every day in the key areas they want to develop further. Tutoring is about building skills. You can’t skip one part and still be able to do the rest. Later material depends on earlier material. So a daily routine of practise is vital.
Just like with running, students are better off spreading out their practise. If you know that your child struggled last year, why do you think it will have changed, especially now!! Little and often is the key.
As for the students themselves here are my top tips to make the next set of study time effective and rewarding.
· Take good notes in class. Getting all the main points and making them as detailed as time allows. Writing clearly so they can be read later with written examples, case studies and other specific details. Finally, if there’s anything that’s unclear, don’t just leave it. Review your notes quickly after each lesson making revision cards as part of an ongoing, long term revision programme. No homework from the subject doesn’t mean no work. · Get into the right zone physically and mentally. Find a great study spot that is quiet, has enough light, is clutter-free and doesn’t have distractions like TV, computer or phone. Plan the year ahead month by month and understand what is needed to be done to ensure that their study time is effective. · Breaks are a necessity, not a luxury. However you need to be realistic - about 1 hour of study to 15 minutes of break seems to be the norm. Make sure the break is going to help the brain - this means doing something completely different to studying (i.e. not reading). Getting outside is good because some fresh air and sunshine wakes up those weary brain cells. · Review, practise, repeat and link to learning style. Review notes from class, what’s in the text book and finally write out new study-specific notes. These should be summaries that help recall more in-depth knowledge at a later date. Getting friendly with bullet points, headings, highlighting, different coloured pens, page tabs and anything else that makes notes both organised and engaging.
Once a student has succinct study notes it’s time to actually get that information off the page and into their memory. Auditory learners (these students learn best when they hear things) should read notes out loud or record their voice and play it back. Visual learners should use drawings, mind maps and diagrams.
Kinaesthetic learners (learning from physical actions) should review their notes while doing something active – walking around the room or throwing a ball. Engaging multiple senses really gets the brain working. For the complicated bits, memory-joggers like acronyms or acrostics are great. · Practise recall in context. Practise, practise, practise. Recalling the information and putting it into the context of an actual written exam, doing the exercises from text books or some practice papers and questions.
We do recommend that students practise in exam conditions - time limits and creepy silence included!
All that’s left is to keep reviewing their notes, doing practice exams and building a set of revision cards over the medium to long term!
So in summary for all students MTA promotes focussed practise, steady and regular reviews leaving nothing to chance.
Remember, there is no substitute for starting early, building an effective study programme and not leaving everything until there is no time left.