Quirindi High School

Work and Truth - Enabling 21st Century Learners

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Study Skills

Study Skills Tips

Coping with Transition

Many students will be experiencing some form of transition this year. Perhaps they have moved from Primary School to Secondary School. Perhaps they are now a senior student. Maybe they are trying a new subject or changing levels within a subject.

With change, can come uncertainty and anxiety. Whenever we are in a new situation, we have a period of time where we are learning and adapting. Below are some tips to help students make their transitions this year as smooth as possible.

  1. ASK QUESTIONS: Ask lots and lots of questions. If you are unsure about something, don't sit there in silence, ask a question. If you are uncomfortable asking the teacher directly, then ask a friend or ask the teacher after class. But be aware, there are probably many other students with the same question and they will probably be thankful that someone asks the question they also have!
  2. FIND A BUDDY: It is much easier if you have someone to talk to about what you are both experiencing. Someone you can check things with, even just someone to listen to you when you want to moan and groan, or celebrate! You don't have to specifically say ‘let's be buddies', but look out for a like-minded person so that you can help each other along the way.
  3. CONSOLIDATE: When you are learning new things, or have lots of new information heading your way, it's important to take time to consolidate. This could be explaining what you are learning to someone like your parents, or it could be writing a short list or summary of what you have been told so you don't forget it.
  4. POSITIVE ATTITUDE: Your attitude can make a world of difference to the type of experiences you have during any transition. Start noticing your thoughts. Are they negative or positive? You can start to take control and direct the way you think about a situation and this in turn will change how you feel. For example if something goes wrong and you notice you're thinking something like ‘what an idiot, I can't believe I did that' immediately catch yourself and say ‘that's a bit negative, after all, everyone makes mistakes, at least now I know what I need to do for next time'. Eventually you can start to have a more positive reaction to things, look for the good in situations.
  5. AIM FOR PERSONAL BEST: Don't compare yourself to other people. Aim for your own "personal best". Strive to do the best you can, to learn, to grow and develop. We all have different skills and strengths and sometimes these aren't always evident in the school situation. So just focus on being the best student you can be and celebrate all of your strengths and gifts – whether they show up in the school arena or in your outside life.

One way to build your skill set at school is through working on the units at study skill handbook website. There are also two units specifically for transition ‘Starting Secondary School' and ‘Becoming a Senior Student'. Access information available in QHS Newsletters.

QHS students have direct access to this handbook through the school's Moodle site.  They use their DET username and password to access QHS Moodle.


Getting Motivated

For parents - Motivating your child

There is no one approach that will work for every child. Here are some tips to get you started:

While I do believe anyone can do anything if they have the motivation to do so and are able to get the help they need along the way, we need to be realistic. Not every child is naturally academic, not every child will find school easy. Many children have other skills that may not be recognised or given an opportunity in an academic setting. Encourage your child to aim for their own personal best and personal improvement – avoid comparisons with other children or other siblings.

Help your child build their self-esteem and their belief in themselves as children who have the ability and potential to succeed. Help children re-define what success means. Offer praise for effort and improvement (as opposed to results and ability). Look for opportunities to celebrate these types of successes along the way, no matter how small. It might be mastering a difficult concept, understanding something new, achieving a personal best. The aim is to build children's self-efficacy, their belief in their ability to achieve. Also look for things your child is good at, whether they are academic skills or not, and celebrate these strengths. Share these successes with friends and family (making sure the child knows you have done so) and give verbal praise or write a little note expressing your pride or recognition in a job well done. You want to give your child the clear message that their worth and value as a person is not bound up in the grades they achieve at school. Many Year 12 students start to think they are defined by the number they get at the end of Year 12, not a positive approach to learning.

Sometimes the reason children are not motivated to work is that there is a sense of fear, they think they will not be able to do the work, so are afraid to try as they think they will fail. If they don't try and fail, then it was because they hadn't tried, not because they couldn't do it. If you suspect this is an issue, look for ways to provide support for your child, are there family or friends that can help when they get stuck, can you encourage your child to ask questions of their teacher before class or at lunch? Does the school offer other support? Only look for a tutor after you have exhausted all other avenues. Your child needs to feel they can succeed and they need to experience success at school. Once children have a taste of success, this can motivate them to continue.

If the work seems overwhelming for your child, help them break it down into small manageable steps so they can stop worrying about the massive task ahead and instead just do one bit, then the next bit, then the next bit. And eventually it will become manageable. Recognise and celebrate the completion of each piece, that's one step closer to the final goal. Your child needs to feel they are having success at what they do, sometimes children just focus on the completion of the task, and don't recognise their successes along the way.

One of the biggest enemies of motivation is fear of failure. Children need to see failure as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, to grow and to improve. Think about how you personally react when you fail at something or it does not go as you planned. Do you model to your child that a setback is an opportunity to gain information to help you for next time? Think also about how you react when your child fails. Do you help them to learn from this experience and use it as an opportunity to examine ways to improve? Help your child evaluate disappointing outcomes by discussing what they could do to improve or how they could approach the work next time.

Visit the Developing Motivation unit at study skills handbook website to print a Tips Sheet for Parents. The other tips cover using technology, just doing one little bit, helping children consider career choices, self-rewards, external motivation, creating positive working conditions, giving children the opportunity to work with others.