This is a short exercise used to check in and make sure the students are taking the steps necessary to be academically successful. This comes out of extensive research done in high schools on what the students are doing to earn their desired grades and why it works for them. Simply put, the students who are academically successful are doing three things: The first is applying Academic Life Coaching Thinking Styles (learned in session two) while taking notes–proactively and productively. This means they are taking notes in class, going home and reviewing these notes and adding to them if necessary. Also, taking a step back and looking at them from a what/why/how perspective.
It’s ideal if the student can create those what/why/how notes for each chapter of the textbook or session they go over in class and save them and use those notes to study for midterm tests and finals. Students who take proactive notes for each chapter end up doing extremely well during finals and exhibit lower levels of stress.
The second thing the students need in order to do well is use a planner and focus on organization. Also, come up with a binder system to keep everything organized. The next concept of the Academic Life Coaching program looks at the best way to set up the binder. Using a plan is essential. It’s best if students write in their planner, and in every class that they don’t have homework in the class they write “no homework,” just to get used to pulling it out and creating a process for organization. When they finish, they can cross out the homework, just a simple line to show it’s been completed. Oftentimes students have a lot of homework that’s given to them electronically and they have an electronic database. That’s fine. However, it’s still useful for students to write down the homework in their own planner so they can determine when they should do the homework and have a more reliable record of what needs to get done.
The final action that successful students take is talking to their teachers, about more than simply how they can get more credit, which happens to be the default that most students take to their teachers. The best action students can take it to practice empathy and look at their classroom from the teacher’s point of view. Teachers are most concerned about students learning the necessary information about the material; students learn the information to get better grades. So it’s best to ask the teacher more in-depth questions, like, “These are the ways I’m studying, do you have any suggestions?” And, “What is something that I can do to ensure that I know this material?”
These are the best questions and most effective when a student sends their teacher an e-mail to set up an appointment outside of class. The students achieving the grades they want are doing these three things.
This is a short little gut check to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do to succeed academically. If you’re not getting the grades you want, or you’re stressed out trying to get those grades and working too hard, you’re not doing one of these three things:
1) Using your learning and academic thinking style when taking notes and studying.
2) Using your planner and systems binder.
3) Talking to your teachers about what you can do better.
Most students do two out of the three. Which one do you need to work on?
When will you work on it?
How will you know that your action is contributing to your success?
What other area in your life have you experienced success?
What made success easy for you?
How can you incorporate the same values/beliefs/actions to how you approach school and your grades?