How teens learn
HELPING teenagers memorise school work is often a challenge because constant exams, long study sessions and repetitive exercises can leave them demotivated. Yet studies show that by making small changes, teens can remember better.
> Mix it up: While consistency is seen as important for study – like using the same desk, studying everyday, or using the same pen – every time a thing is done differently, the memory is enriched and made easier to recall in the future.
So studying outside, talking about work with friends, taking audio notes instead of writing them down can make a difference.
Teenagers are encouraged to do this by allowing them to listen to music for part of their study time, inviting their friends to study with them at home, or helping them to write a study schedule with different times and places for study sessions.
> Take a break: Many scientific studies show that the brain continues working on a problem long after you have stopped working on it. In fact, the brain may work better when thinking about something else.
If a student is struggling with an exercise, encourage him to take a break. During the break he can chat with friends, play sports, have a meal, or whatever else he wants.
In this time, his subconsciousness works on the problem, and when he consciously starts on the problem again, he would have a clearer idea on how to solve it.
> Review not only difficult stuff: People often believe they will always know something because they know it at that moment.
This is called “the fluency trap” and can cause problems when the need to remember information long after it was last reviewed arises.
Teens often suffer this problem when choosing what to study, for they feel if they already know the subject, they will surely remember that for the test. Encourage them to revise all their class work a few weeks afterwards, even subjects they think they are done with, and space out the study sessions so they can see where the gaps in their knowledge are.
> The power of testing: People often think reading and making notes are the best ways to learn material. Psychologists now believe testing actually helps students remember. Being in a test situation requires more brainpower than sitting and memorising, thus strengthens the memory. There are websites that British Council’s tech-savvy teens can use to make revision tests for themselves.
Or they can visit www.learnenglishteens. britishcouncil.org where they can quickly complete short tests after each study session.
Giving students short quizzes and tests, constantly reviewing work from previous weeks, and even getting students to sit in different places, all enrich their memory of English and make the classes more enjoyable.
The parent workshop will be held on Aug 5 and 6 focusing more on how teenagers learn, and how teachers and parents can help them in their studies.
Sign up at www.britishcouncil.my/events/ young-learner-events.
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Being in a test situation requires more brainpower than sitting and memorising.