Having a Great Start

Year 7 Parent Information Night

Thank you to the more than 70 parents who attended our Year 7 Parent Information night on Tuesday 14 February.  It was a great opportunity to explore the beginnings of AISHK Secondary school and the conversations with the full range of subject teachers and Heads of Departments were much appreciated. Ms Chrissy Carini, Head of Year 7, explained some of the nuances of the Year 7 student Well-Being program and reinforced the sense that the Year 7 cohort is adapting well to secondary routines and charging ahead with growing confidence and skills.

Study Skills Handbook

We continue to provide our valuable subscription to the Study Skills Handbook, with access for Secondary students provided via the OLP Secondary Library page. This material is constantly updated by its creator, Dr Prue Salter, and it is a powerful resource for all students to explore, assisting them to hone and reflect upon their habits and practices of study and learning.

I would encourage all students to delve into the material, as it designed to foster self-learning, provide the drilling of skills, and it allows for review testing. Parents will find its simple instructional tools a great asset in supporting their own knowledge and beliefs in ‘how to study’, such as: summarizing, active studying, preparing for exams, test-taking techniques, and after test activities.

Regular monthly updates on study tips will be published in Dhanara, so as to keep you abreast of the content in the Study Skills Handbook. The following URL takes you to the page: http://olp.aishk.edu.hk/course/view.php?id=83

There is even a unit on how to prepare for study and life at university.

The Study Skills Handbook tip for February: Top 5 Habits for Students

by Dr. Prue Salter –  Enhanced Learning Educational Services

Recently I was asked what I thought the top five habits were for students in their last year of school. I came up with this list below, then realised wouldn’t it be great if all students had these habits firmly entrenched before they even reached the senior years of school!

So, your challenge for this year, no matter what your year level, is to ensure these habits become embedded as part of YOUR practice for learning to help you become an effective learner at school and in your career and personal life.

Want to develop great habits for learning? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Engage: Don’t just be a bystander, instead be an active participant in your own learning, taking responsibility for what you need to do to achieve your academic best.

This means:

  • You involve yourself in all of your lessons, staying on task, participating in discussions and trying to absorb as much as you can during your classes (and that means less to learn later).
  • You complete all of the set work for your subjects (your teacher gives you this for a reason) and you try and keep up to date in this work.
  • You seek help on anything you don’t understand or can’t do. This might be from a teacher, a friend, online sources, additional books or study guides. You also do this nice and early, you don’t let the problems pile up.
  1. Organise: Being organised means that you can find things when you need them, you don’t forget about work to be done and you don’t have last minute panics. Much less stressful.

This means:

  • You have a good system for managing all of the paper work for school: you file away completed work and sort and organise all of the papers you are given.
  • You do the same with your digital resources: well named folders and logical filing structures. You do a back-up on a regular basis.
  • When you are given an assessment task you make a plan for when you will do the work for this task and you adjust the plan along the way as things change.
  1. Think ahead: Part of ‘stepping up’ is that you don’t just wait for someone to tell you to do something. You think ahead and work strategically.

This means:

  • If you know there will be exams (and there are always exams) then don’t wait until exam time to get your act together. Make your study notes as you go. Every time you finish a topic make study notes for that topic and file it away at home.
  • Make your study notes as you go. Don’t fall too far behind. Yes, I know I have already said this, but it is so important I am saying it twice. Keep improving and condensing your notes throughout the year.
  • In fact, it needs to be said three times. Keep up to date in your study notes. Worst case scenario – catch up every school holidays.
  1. Strive for excellence: You want to be able to differentiate yourself from all of the other students, so think what you can do to make your work stand out from the crowd.

This means:

  • You take the time to be thorough when working on essays and assignments. This means lots of planning and brainstorming to start and then multiple drafts over a period of time for editing and proofing (it’s good to give the subconscious time to process and evaluate between drafts).
  • You look for additional source material, you read widely and you do more than what is asked of you. But you ensure that in specific tasks you are focused on answering the question and providing depth to your response.
  • You make the most of any feedback you are given (either along the way or after the task) to make adjustments to your approach to your work to improve your outcomes.
  1. Study smart: Many students are incredibly ineffective in the way they study. They just stare into their books hoping what they need to learn will magically jump into their heads. If you aren’t doing it yet, then it is time to study smart.

This means:

  • You test yourself over and over on the material you need to be able to recall in exams. You don’t just read it and hope you will be able to remember it.
  • You then check for understanding, are you able to apply the information you have in your head to different types of questions? To do this you do as many practice questions and past examination papers as you can. You get hold of as many different questions as possible to do as practise.
  • You do these past papers under examination conditions! This means that you stick to the time limits and don’t look at notes or answers until the end. This gives you a reality check about your performance and helps you rehearse for the time pressure of exams. You use these practise papers as a tool to help you pinpoint areas of weakness that you then address.

You can learn more about how to be a more effective student at www.studyskillshandbook.com.au.

West, Howard

Howard West | Head of Secondary