There’s an awful lot of discussion about how the state of education can be improved. The focus is usually targeted on teachers, the classroom environment, and the state of education as a whole. However, how often are the students themselves asked what the issues are? We asked a group of students what they were struggling with in the classroom, and this is what they came back with.
There’s too much emphasis on homework
Surprisingly, the issue students have with homework is not the amount they are given, but the emphasis put upon it. When they sit down for a session of studying, they spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about what they’re about to do. The pressure, for some, is simply too much.
They’re worried about their performance
In an increasingly target driven classroom, it’s no surprise that students are so worried about their results. The problem is that they’re spending too much time worrying about the end result, and not enough time actually learning.
They want to learn, but for the wrong reasons
Students are worrying so much about their grades as they’re concerned for their future. With upcoming tests and college admissions looming, they fear that their grades won’t be enough. They’ve lost the ability to learn for the sake of learning itself.
So, if students are struggling with all of these problems, how can their teachers help?
Show them how to study efficiently
Cramming the night before a test is never going to beat focused studying over a longer period of time. Show your students how cramming will help in the short term, but if they want to retain information, they need to study more efficiently.
Teach them how to manage stress
School is probably the first time your pupils have encountered stress, so you need to teach them the tools to manage it. Show them how, if they’re worried about any project, a small amount of progress towards their goals is better than none at all.
Focus on the journey, not the destination
Try to show your students that the journey of learning is more important than the grade they got. While working on a project, teach them to ask questions of themselves while they’re working. Ask, ‘How did you get to this answer?’ ‘What was your method?’ and ‘What could you do differently next time?’, to get them to think about how they’re working, rather than the end grade.
Listening to students can be the most effective way to help them get the most out of their education. Ask your class what they need from you, and you may be surprised at the answers they give.