Episode 32: 7 Ways to Stay Stressed and Struggling as a Student
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Here are seven things I see a lot of struggling students doing, that are keeping them stressed, keeping them working longer and harder than is necessary and stopping them from achieving the results they’re truly capable of.
If your teen is struggling to get the results they want, or getting top results but doing it the hard way, then take a listen and see if it's because they're doing any of these...
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Episode 30: If it's Not Difficult, it's Not Doing Anything
You’re listening to the Parents of Hardworking Teens Podcast, episode 32 - and today I’m not going to be giving you tips or advice on what you or your teen should or could be doing. Instead, here are seven things I see a lot of struggling students doing, that are keeping them stressed, keeping them working longer and harder than is necessary and stopping them from achieving the results they’re truly capable of.
Hi VIPs! I hope you and your teens are making the most of this last week or so of the holiday. I cannot believe I am saying that. I know it happens every year, we look forward to the summer so much and then it just wizzes by. But I hope that at least it’s because time flies when you’re having fun. I can at least say that for sure. I do feel like I’ve had a really good mix of lots of productive hard work and a lot of fun and relaxation as well, which for me is the perfect mix. The house now feels quiet as my Dad is now back in not-so-sunny England and my dog Bonnie is wondering where the extra ball-thrower in the house has gone, bless her. BUT I am really excited for everything I’ve got planned for you - and your teens if they are in the 10WGT or in Next Level - for Term 1.
So, definitely keep an eye on your emails for more details coming right up.
Now, in my excitement and energy, I wanted to do something a little bit different for today’s podcast, and so we’re actually going to be talking about what NOT to do and for a very good reason. Sometimes it’s easier to identify what not to do because if your teen IS doing them, then they’ll stand out like a sore thumb.
Plus, using non-examples can be a really helpful tool for teaching and training. I had this happen totally un-planned when I ran a parent webinar - I think it was the exams focus webinar just last year - and I explained about active revision and how to make passive revision active and got parents to type in examples that would relate to their teen’s subjects and topics.
One parent typed in the idea of making a wordle of the key words. A wordle in this case isn’t the online word game. It’s where a sort of graphic design is made - still online - to create almost like a collage of the words. And I have definitely seen this done for displays for topics for subjects. And I totally got where they were coming from. I could see that they were thinking that would be turning text into something visual. From information into something more creative. HOwever, I picked up on it and kindly corrected them and explained why it didn’t actually count as transforming information. Because it was still the same words, just displayed differently. Not actually in a different format. AND the online generator would be making the design, and it has to be the student doing the processing. Otherwise they will just be looking at the words, relying on that idea of osmosis, that the information will just soak into their brain just be looking at it. And although I would never want anyone to feel silly or wrong, espcially when they are actively participating in the session, I also never let incorrect things go. Just ask any student who’s been coached by me - or seen others being coached by me!
And you know what. I got an email from this wonderful parent after we finished the event and they told me how grateful they were that I picked up on that error and that they really appreciated how I explained it. AND THEN they said that they actually learn best with non-examples. Now, honestly, I had never heard of that term non-example before. But I got it and I totally recognise how knowing what ISN’T can really help things click to understand what IS. And actually, when I thought about it, I realised that we often also use this concept in teaching, for example, which of these triangles is NOT a right-angled triangle, or which of these techniques is NOT used in the poem. I really used to love teaching the ‘odd one out’ for terminology related to a topic. Or even now, for exam technique - I might ask which of these commands words is NOT at the describe level of commands?
So, hence, as we launch into a new school year, I thought I’d use some opposites and non-examples with the aim that it might flag some things in a clear and obvious way for you.
Here are 7 ways for a student to stay struggling in their study. Either struggling to get the results they want, or getting top results, but doing it the hard way.
And in no particular order they are:
Not identifying the command word in every question. - WTHis will mean that they often either end up writing too much - which is when they run out of time in exams, or they don’t write at the correct level. They might have factually correct information, and plenty of it, but they haven’t necessarily analysed, or compared, or evaluated, they may have just described or explained. In which case, they’ll be losing out on marks.
Launching straight into an extended response or essay. (without planning)
Making ineffective and inefficient notes - Copying out notes (not transforming). Making beautiful notes (taking too long).
Making a study planner or revision plan that says ‘2 hrs on English’ (Not using outcome scheduling). Which might say something like 45 mins to find the 6 best quotes and evidence for this essay. Specific timing, specific outcome.
Practising the easy Q’s (not the optimal level of challenge - ref. Ep. 30 if not diff)
Doing wider reading in order to get more marks (not out of love/personal curiosity for the topic). Increasing knowledge when application skills needed. Can’t examine on anything beyond syllabus (can get credit for outside examples, BUT can get full marks just within the syllabus).
Setting up for distraction while studying: listening to pop music/keeping phone nearby, turn off all notifications on laptop. Messy desk/study space (takes ages to find items/equip, creates opportunity for distraction).
Okay, so there are 7 ways to ensure your teen stays stressed and struggling in the their study this year. AND some tips on what to do instead.
If you do see any of these happening for your teen, you HAVE to come to my next free online parent event. It’s going to be a big one! So if you’re not already on my email list, you can get on there by grabbing the free parent guide on the website at www. rocksolidstudy.com/guide.