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Chapter 11
I AM A GOOD STUDENT Study Skills Program
By: Constance M. Messina, Ph.D.

PURPOSE

Knowledge is of no avail. You must put its principles to work. It is what you do about it - not what you know that counts. No matter how much our culture values education, no matter how supportive our parents are, no matter how much instruction is provided for studying skills, you, the student, have to do it.


BACKGROUND

Learning is getting new ways of doing things or satisfying desires. Notice the doing idea in this definition. We are not considering learning as passing facts from a book to someone's mind, or from one person to another person. We are not considering that people are learning because more facts or information are being stored away in their minds. People have learned to the extent that they can do well and succeed in their lives as a whole. No matter how many facts they have, unless, they can use those facts effectively in getting their work done well, in living happily, and in getting along well in life generally, they have not learned anything worthwhile.

 

To succeed and be motivated, students must feel good about themselves and develop confidence in their abilities. But to feel good about themselves and develop confidence they must experience success and be motivated. Success breeds success. This concept can be expressed graphically:

SUCCESS

POSITIVE FEELINGS

MOTIVATION

EFFORT

Here are some suggestions for developing a self-management program that puts students in charge of their own learning. The program involves five steps which force students to make decisions and to follow through on their decisions.

 

1. PLANNING involves setting goals by deciding in advance what to do and how long it will take to get that job done.

 

2. ORGANIZING refers to methods that help students shape their behavior so that they can achieve their goals. Organizing is essentially controlling the external forces which distract students and using the environment as a means to promote achieving their goals.

 

3. STAFFING is a recognition by the students that they are their own staff. Only the students can formulate a goal and arrange their behavior to achieve that goal. Students need to make a personal commitment to what they want to achieve and to make achieving that goal a priority in their daily lives.


4. DIRECTING is a form of behavior modification used by students to change their study habits. It refers to the rewards the students used to reinforce themselves as they make progress toward achieving their study goals. After studying for a specified period of time, a student might treat himself or herself to some form of entertainment, a snack or a telephone call to a friend.

 

5. EVALUATING provides feedback from the progress being made toward achieving a study goal. It is a system of record keeping that provides the students evidence that they are making progress. Daily entries can record study times to indicate how realistic the initial goal setting was.

 

This student self-management program also includes tips on developing good study habits.

1. Study at only one place. Use this place only for studying.

2. Establish an initial study schedule that you know you can maintain. You build from there.

3. Reward yourself.

4. Employ enjoyable and rewarding study systems.

5. Establish reasonable goals for grade achievement.

6. Learn to say no when friends want you to interrupt your studying.

7. Choose supportive study partners.

8. Use active self-monitoring.


IF WE DID ALL THE THINGS WE WERE CAPABLE OF DOING WE WOULD TOTALLY ASTOUND OURSELVES.


ACTIVITIES

1. Discuss the success configuration and how it applies to each individual student.

 

2. Provide rewards - both internal (feel good) and external (fruit, crackers, free time) for positive evidence of study skill techniques being used.

 

3. Discuss the above suggestions for developing a self-management study program and how it can be used by the students.