I recently read an article in one of my bilingual education classes about study skills and their effectiveness not only in the classroom, but also in everyday life.
So many times teachers focus on teaching their students content only. While this is important to their success in your specific class, it is also necessary to make sure they know how to study, when to study, and what to study in order for them to succeed in their future academic endeavors.
Study skills are important for many reasons, one of them being that students can apply them to any subject at any grade level. Once students learn how to study, they can excel in any subject. There is a common proverb that says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I think this applies to the idea of study skills perfectly. If you focus on teaching students specific facts and information, they have the opportunity to do well in your class (you will “feed them for a day”). But if you teach them how to study and take notes, they have the opportunity to do well in all of their future classes (you will “feed them for a lifetime”).
College is a time where having effective study skills is especially important. Many courses involve extensive reading and note taking. The more study and note taking skills students have, the better their chances are at success. Gettinger and Seibert (2002) also support the use of study skills across the board, and even suggest that students who are not doing well in school may be due to the fact that they do not possess good study skills.
One effective study skill I have recently learned is Cornell notes. This type of note taking is very beneficial for students of all ages. To take Cornell notes, the students divide their papers into three different sections. The first section is about a two-inch margin on the left hand side where the students write critical-thinking questions. The larger right hand portion of the paper is for actually taking notes. There is also a small section across the entire bottom portion of the paper for summarizing. This method is beneficial for students because they are able to ask and answer questions, and summarize their learning at the end of a lecture, video, or reading.
As future educators, it is important to make sure that we know several different types of study skills, so we can teach our students how to implement them in their daily studying. I believe that if we do this, our students will experience great success not only in our classes, but in all of their future classes as well.
By: Abbie Middleton
Source: Gettinger, M., & Seibert, J. (2002). Contributions of study skills to academic competence. School Psychology Review, 31 (3), 351-365.