Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cheering Learners On

It's crunch time for many learners in my midst. My sons are studying for college and professional exams. My students are studying for systemwide and state exams. How do I rightly cheer these learners on?

Today I'll remind all these learners that it's about doing your best--showing what you know, and finding out what you still need to learn. Whether you are a test fan or not, a test is one more way that you can learn about yourself as a learner, and you can use that knowledge to help yourself move forward in the curriculum or professional arena you are focused on.

I may tell them about the first time I completed the portfolio and took the test to be a nationally certified teacher. I failed in one area, and it turned out that I had a completely different idea of what that area of teaching and learning was about. That knowledge led me to read a text about that area which helped me to pass the test and earn my national certification on a second try. Like any contest or challenge we engage in, we learn a lot about what we know well and what we still need to study and learn.

So how might I cheer my learners on in these days?

First, it's important to be available online and offline for these learners. I encourage my students to email me if they have questions. I also encourage them to come in for extra help and ask lots of questions during class time so I can help. I'll continue to encourage that.

I'll also provide some tips for challenge areas that everyone is facing. For my college student and young professional, the key is to use good daily study habits. For me, some of the best tips for effective studying include the following:
  • Keep a running list of what you have to do, and then match the items on the list with your energy at the moment so that you are tackling the list with lead time and good energy.
  • Read and write each day. Reading about the topics you want or need to learn and then writing about that learning each day helps to solidify that learning in your mind and actions.
  • Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, have some fun
  • Be prepared: Have the needed tools to do well on any assignment or task. 
For my young learners, I'll foster the following positive strategies:
  • Review the homework list each night and complete the assigned exercises.
  • Plan your week ahead of time--if you know you are going to be busy during the week, use some weekend time to catch up on practice exercises.
  • Use extra help times to help you study and learn.
  • Ask lots of questions
  • When needed, request and/or create modification or enrichment of the learning tasks
  • Keep a learning journal--write a few sentences each day about what you have learned and what questions you have about that learning.
  • Always do your best
  • Try to stay ahead of your assignments.
  • Steady daily attention to learning is the best way to learn and get better at any task.
  • Take care of yourself with good food, good sleep, and plenty of play.
  • Read every day.
Learning well is a lifelong event, and as educators we can well support and cheer our young learners on.