Exam Study and Multitasking
The middle school years are important times of transition from childhood to adulthood where students are given increasing amounts of independence to manage their own affairs. In many cases, it's valuable for parents/ guardians to allow students choice in making decisions about their academics, style of dress, and friendship groups even if they make mistakes. In the coming days, our students will be making time management decisions relating to exam preparation. Parents often ask me how to best support their child's learning at home while allowing them a measure of independence. When I talk to parents about this subject, we invariably discuss the study environment set up at home.
Here are a few pieces of advise you might find useful in helping your children set up a successful home study environment:
- Make sure the space for study is quiet and free from distraction. It's not possible for a person's mind to pay close attention to more than one thing at a time (this is one of the reasons why people should never talk on the phone or send text messages while driving). If students are learning new information in class for example, teachers try to make sure that distractions such as music, loud noises and other input are minimised especially at that time. At home, make sure students are not distracted by things happening around them in their study area when they need to concentrate.
- Studying when listening to music is only effective when: the task is very easy/ already learned or the volume is at such a low level that children are not actually paying attention to it. Music is distracting to students when it is either too loud or played during a time when intense concentration is needed. Studying with a TV on in the room is never recommended.
- If 20 minutes is required for homework in a particular subject, make sure this time is uninterrupted. Time spent switching between tasks can be very disruptive to study and learning. For this reason, students should not work on tasks from different subjects at the same time or respond to text messages/ phone calls when concentration is needed. Each time a task is started and stopped mental energy is consumed and the chance to learn effectively is lessened. Frequently checking email, selecting and reselecting music choices, and internet surfing each have destructive influences on learning when done at a time where concentration is required.
- Please refer to our Middle School Parent/ Student Handbook (click on the tab above) for our homework policy. Students should not be spending more than about 60-90 minutes per evening on homework at the very most. Students who work on homework longer than this generally: are not very efficient with their time, do not get enough sleep, miss out on critical socialization or exercise opportunities and, most importantly, lose interest in their studies. Students who spend too much time each evening studying are not rewarded with enhanced wellbeing or academic success.
In the next few days, take a few minutes to listen to your child's study strategy and work together to plan for their success. As I've written previously, exams are just one of many assessments for learning in the Middle School and should not be the cause of unhealthy pressure for students. Working together, we can help our students make the most out of this learning opportunity.
May 23-27- Middle School Exam Week
June 3- Elementary and Middle School Art Exhibition
June 7- 8th Grade End of Year Celebration to be followed by high tea at the Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel- details coming soon!
June 8- Middle School End of Semester Outing
June 8- Second Semester Reports sent home
June 9- Last day of school for students- school ends at 12:00pm