Maybe this series of sharing might come a little late in the day for many women reading it. Here are top study tips from a teacher which will help you to guide your children. Learning never ends till one dies. Better put, would be the statement, ‘One dies the day one stops learning’. I pray that my experience sharing will help children to achieve, not just academic excellence but also to learn Life’s Lessons, albeit surreptitiously. I find comfort in the sentiment expressed by Martin Luther King Junior “Intelligence plus Character – is the goal of true Education.”
Trained at the well-known St. Teresa’s Institute of Education in Maths & Science, I have been actively involved in teaching these supposedly difficult subjects to students of Canossa High School, Mahim, since 1988.
So I will begin with a few top study tips from a teacher which will make life easier for students.
- In Science, always write down data which helps to decide the formula to be used in numerical. A verbal answer at the end with units is also important. Practice diagrams by drawing to size on paper & not in the air.
- Try to label only on 1 side of the diagram as much as possible. Make straight lines with an arrow head towards the part being labelled. Avoid any pen work on a diagram but don’t forget to name it in pen.
- In Science make sure you answer to the point, no going around in circles. Watch videos and source out more information on abstract topics, particularly on topics like Light, Electricity or structure of the Atom.
- In Maths, you need to be a master of every question of every Exercise & every solved example. This ensures a correct understanding of all concepts.
- Redo questions wherein you faced a problem, after a couple of days with different values. Ensure every question is worked out by putting pen to paper (even in rough will do) & not learning by rote or by solving the question in the air.
- Always write down data at the start and conclude with a verbal answer and correct units, wherever applicable.
- Get used to doing rough work on the R.H.S. Learn to observe the red line on the right hand side which actually is the margin of the next page and work within its breadth.
- Boxing values and relations in between not only make the solution presentable but also help’s to avoid wastage of time later on, in searching when needed for substitution.
- Avoid using the guide for Maths. Steps in between are not explained & learning without understanding becomes useless.
- Please ensure tables are learnt, as many as possible, squares, cubes & square roots too.
- Take children shopping with you even to the local bazaar. Let them compute the cost of what you have purchased mentally (as close as possible if not absolutely correct). Give them the money to pay for it and see if they are able to get the correct amount tendered back. Avoid sharing your academic difficulties & mental blocks in these subjects with your children unless they became your stepping stones to success.
- Linguistic skills are developed by reading books in the language & making the effort to speak it without hesitation, with those well versed in it. Take the child along with you for marketing from a young age. Let him/her converse in Hindi or Marathi with the grocer, fisherwoman, watchman, domestic help or any other member who renders community service.
- It would help to watch films or documentaries in languages one is not comfortable in. Keep a note book, pen and dictionary at hand. When you are reading a book or even the newspaper & you come across a new word, note it down after finding its meaning. That is how one develops vocabulary. Don’t depend on the computer to enhance your writing.The truth of the matter is that intellect too is nourished and of course muscles meant for the purpose are used.
- It goes without saying that one must encourage the child to solve word puzzles, jigsaws etc. Even trying to get through a maze or joining dots to arrive at a solution enhances mental ability, steadies hand work and brings about perfect hand- eye co-ordination.
- Later on a straight line and a circle will look exactly that and not end up as a curl or an ellipse. Needless to add, I feel that it is absolutely important to know your child inside out including their habits, likes, dislikes, talents, skills et al. It will make the journey of parenting through School & College a lot easier.
- To develop speed in writing, especially when preparing for important exams, buy a whole lot of the type of pens you plan to use for the exam and use them through the year and watch your speed increase.
- Don’t make the mistake of taking a brand new type of pen for the exam and don’t take a new one from your lot either. Chances are it may not write. One that has already been used a bit is sure to have the ink flowing smoothly.Solving papers is a must in all subjects.
- For weak students, solve Question wise. When solving a paper treat it like an exam, keeping to the required time, using actual board papers (samples available at stationery stores) using ordinary labels as Holocraft and UID stickers, even having someone go to the child 2-3 times to take signatures while answering of the paper is on.All this takes away the trauma when the child is actually seated in an unknown examination hall for the first time and encounters a daunting invigilator.
- Using the 21 Sets for studying Science, History, Geography, Hindi, Marathi (& even for subjects in the 12th) is recommended. The text is also good enough, though sometimes it tends to beat around the bush.
- Make a note of which question is to be studied from where, after going through the same from the text, the guide, 21 sets or any other source. Avoid studying the same question from multiple books.
- In Geography, History, Hindi & Marathi, make it a point to write down all the big answers in a notebook for a quick revision. In Hindi & Marathi see that every answer is written down at least once, even that of a FIB.
- If you have a tutor for these 2 subjects, ask for catchy introductions & conclusions for essays and letters on commons topics, which can be sourced from 5 year question papers.
- For kids just beginning to learn the Alphabet and work with numbers, help them read the number plates of vehicles. It’s a fun learning activity as you walk with your child to Nursery School.
- While we all agree it’s a techno-savvy world we are living in, let’s not get carried away. It is still very appropriate to let your child learn: A is for apple (the fruit & not the computer) & I is for Ice cream & not the I- phone. Remember, it is up to us as parents to allow them to dwell in their childhood innocence for as long as possible.
- Expose your child in the growing years to all kinds of activities. They will automatically gravitate towards the ones of their choice. Don’t force them to do what you think is needed for them to succeed in a competitive world.
- In the guise of preparing them to face the world, we run the risk of living out our unfulfilled dreams through them.
- Limit the hours your child spends in front of the TV & also monitor the content from young age. By doing so, there would be less hair to pull out in frustration, in the years ahead.
- Children preparing for the Board exams need a break during study time. Avoid computer games as a break activity. Watching TV on the other hand is a better option though for a short while only. Listening to soothing music, going for a stroll or simply looking out at the greenery from the balcony is also a good “break” option.
- By the time your child is in Std. 8, the school authorities would have already organised sessions with professionals, who they hope will guide parents & children on – how to study, when & where to study, posture conducive to study, what to eat, etc. Nothing wrong in what they are saying but to inculcate such lifestyle habits in a 12/13 year old is nigh impossible. Good habits take a lifetime to be inculcated unlike the bad ones.
The joy of Parenthood erupts the moment a pregnancy is confirmed. When does it end? Your guess is as good as mine. It probably never ends. Those anxious moments waiting for the first word to be uttered, the first shaking step to be taken without support, the time spent in the Play school / Nursery that can train the toddler to perfection, for admission to a renowned school of our choice all seem to be guaranteed. We can now relax and let the school do its job. Total wrong thinking, dear Mama’s. This is when our TASK actually begins.
If you believe your child should be the recipient of an enriching, fulfilling Formal Education avoid belittling the Teachers or the Teaching profession in front of your child. Dissect if you must, to the minute details, the cons (and the pros hopefully!) of the Education system in the country but out of the hearing range of the child. If such is the tendency, Home Schooling would be a better option. Avoid picking holes in a particular Teacher’s handling of a subject. Rather plug in the loopholes by being a part of your child’s study. Do not depend totally on the school & the teachers to develop concepts and encourage creativity. It is our task; one we should take up whole heartedly.
Even Parents with an SSC certificate can be of help to their children till Std.10, at least in subjects like Social Studies. If armed with more degrees, take up the onus yourself rather than sending the child for Classes. What you cannot manage, get professional help at home itself. Today, with computers and smart phones even subjects like Science do not pose too much of a problem, at least in lower classes. It is so sad to see educated parents sending their children for tuitions from the K.G. itself. Do not be guilty of stealing the magical childhood years of your child and then grumble that s/he has matured too fast.
Check your child’s calendar and bag more often. Kids genuinely forget to show school circulars and cleverly neglect to show negative remarks. If you are ever summoned to the School on account of a misdeed, carefully listen to both sides (Child’s explanation and complaint from the Authority) and correct the child accordingly. Do not presumptuously accuse either one without knowing and understanding the circumstances of the misdeed.
Support the school in all its endeavors because the decisions taken are always in favour of the growth, development and safety of your child. If you are disagreeable about any issue, discuss the same face to face with the Principal rather than sharing your views on a parents WhatsApp group. Not done at all.
In conclusion, let me state that I do not wish you to think that I am preaching to you. What I have shared in this article are first hand experiences which I have been through, both as a Parent and a Teacher. These attitudes have helped me nurture my 2 boys now aged 27 & 22 years respectively with no extended family to help. I have managed to avoid many a pitfall doing what I have shared above and today it pleases me to see my elder son partnering his father as a Civil Engineer in the family business. The younger one is currently employed with a leading Life Insurance company, while also managing his own agency that handles Investments in Mutual Funds.
Both have learnt over the years to forge ahead through obstacles with assurance and courage borne out of firm yet loving parental guidance supported by an excellent Education.
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