We are not born knowing how to learn effectively, indeed for most human beings it is not something that comes naturally. Our instincts about how we learn aren't always accurate and this means that many students can spent long hours working hard but in ways that still leave them stumped in the exam. Indeed, it's also possible for us to learn everything really well but for it to all fall apart on the day. Stephen Chew from Stamfod University summarises 3 underlying ideas that this programme is based on:
We aim to give students an understanding of how to learn and the tools to learn to manage their own learning. Learning is a skill that everyone can improve through practice.
Each workshop is 40-60 minutes long and is carried out in groups or 30 or 60 students depending on the topic. Click on each image for further information.
We believe it's important that parents are kept fully informed about what we do in our study skills workshops. Along with this website Mr Bates speaks at the annual parents evenings to outline the work we are doing and what parents can do to support their children.
The two main activities that help you learn are:
The optimal amount of time in a single study session will vary for each student, however it will usually be between 20 and 40 minutes of studying. Most students spend far too long in a study session. You're much better having more, shorter sessions than one big marathon.
I recommend picking a time and running with it for a week. If you think you can do more, increase it by 5 minutes. If you find you're losing concentration by the end then decrease it by 5 minutes. Fairly quickly you'll find you sweet spot. As you get older, this might increase slightly but I would urge caution if you're spending more than 45 minutes at a go. Big blocks feel more satisfying but this is an example of where our instincts lead us astray. One of the most consistent findings from research into learning is that short sessions spaced out over time are more effective than big blocks.
After your study, take a short break to allow the information leave your short term memory and then give yourself a quick test on what you've studied. As well as being a useful reality check, getting your mind to recall the information is a very important part of the learning process.