During one of my tutoring sessions this week, an interesting idea came from one of my older students. This particular student loves reading, and really enjoys all aspects of books and literature. We often have really engaging talks about different books, it's characters and why it should (or should not) be made into the next mega movie! During one of these discussions, the student mentioned how much they would really (really, really) like to be able to go to a book club. But then, (very somberly) told me that they only have book clubs for adults.
This talk definitely got me thinking, and made me realise how many other students I see on a weekly basis who might benefit from such a club as well. A way for students to improve on reading and analytical thinking skills, a way to make some new friends and most importantly... get really excited about reading! At the moment I am doing a bit of research into the idea, and am hoping that it may be something that MPT can trial in the future (possibly Term 1, 2016).
For now though, I would like to share said student's reason's for wanting to join a book club, as well as some insight into why they love reading so much!
I am a 12 year old and I love reading. It is one of my passions, and I love reading because....
when you read you can let your mind race while you are reading a book. I like dystopian themed books, and if you have no clue what dystopian is it is when an author thinks about the future and makes up what it will be like. James Dashner is the author of the Maze Runner (a dystopian book), and he thinks that the world will be burning. I am guessing, but maybe our climate change problem is giving him a chance to explain the future in his own words.
I would like to join a book club because if we do it means that we can socialize, learn about books and talk about them. We could also set ourselves up with buddy reads, which is when 2 people pick a book to read and they take turns until they finish the book.
This wonderful student also writes their own blog about books, movies and lots of other cool stuff.
Raising a hand in class can be a thoughtless reaction for some students, but a nerve-racking struggle for others. Everybody learns in varying ways, and sit at different levels on the introversion/extroversion scale, but in a modern classroom environment, speaking up is often essential. We already know that some students are quiet learners (which do not necessarily mean they are shy individuals) but the time will inevitably come to answer a question or do a presentation in front of the class. So how can we get kids to feel confident enough to speak up?
I remember when I was in primary school I had no fears in raising my hand to answer a question. Whether I was confident enough to talk in front of everyone, or I was just seeking validation from my teacher, I’m still not sure. However, by the time I got to high school, my eagerness to answer questions dwindled. It wasn’t so much a confidence thing or me trying to look ‘cool’, but more that I always doubted my answers and second-guessed myself. It was only when I had a pre-prepared script to read from for an oral presentation did I feel confident in my knowledge.
This might relate to your children in some way if they have any trouble speaking up. Ask them if it’s a confidence issue, or a concern about their ‘image’. There’s obviously nothing to be afraid of in the classroom and there’s nothing wrong with answering a question incorrectly, as long as they try. In fact, failing in front of your classmates can be a positive experience too – once they realise that nothing awful happens, it’ll drive them to answer more questions in the future!
Much like extroverted kids are forced to work quietly and independently, introverted types should be encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and speak up. Being able to talk openly in front of their class will enhance their public speaking, communication skills and confidence, and will help immensely when they move on to further education where oral presentations are a more frequent occurrence.
It’s now officially Term 4 - the home stretch of the school year - and while kids may be excitedly winding down for summer holidays, unfortunately there’s still a little way to go before the final bell rings. Arguably, Term 4 is the most important of the year, but with Christmas looming around the corner it’s understandably tough to get students motivated to achieve their learning goals. Luckily, there are a few sneaky tips on boosting enthusiasm to do work (which might help some parents getting through the final leg of the working year too!)
Make sure your child has a suitable environment to study. A separate room is ideal, but if that’s not possible then a working space that’s clean, clutter-free and relatively quiet will ensure the best opportunity for success. The right set-up should be also be personalised with their favourite stationery and decorations, or situated in front of a window, to help boost inspiration. Having a permanent place to return to and work after school that’s free from distractions will do wonders in the long-term.
Stick to a schedule. Often homework gets put on the back burner if we have other commitments going on, but writing up a timetable and following through with it will ensure that all their learning goals are met. And if your child knows that free time is coming straight after they finish their homework, they will be more inclined to get it done.
This blog has previously mentioned the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and this is also an essential way of boosting motivation. When the pressures of school and the anxiety of a much-needed holiday coming up is almost unbearable, taking the time to unwind and observe their breathing and feelings is a naturally calming and attention-training technique. By focusing on the ‘present moment’, kids will find it much easier to hone in on their schoolwork and overcome any challenges.
Positive reinforcement and rewards systems are recommended only for short-term goals, but if your child is struggling with some tricky maths homework, a little treat can give them the edge they need to get through it. Give a reward like a sticker or some screen time for every few questions they complete, and watch them blitz through their work in no time. Make sure to not get them too reliant on it though. By acknowledging achievements and celebrating the things they have done well, the satisfaction they get from finishing a task successfully will eventually become their main motivator.
These are just some of the ways to get your kids performing at their full potential over the last (and seemingly endless!) term. But getting into good study habits now will have your child kicking goals in their future years of study, and beyond. I don’t know about you, but I think I need to put some of these tips into practice myself!
Lauren is the owner of MPT, a primary school teacher, tutor and Mum to a nearly 2 year old son.