When You Feel Ashamed and Can’t Take Action

Do you ever struggle with feeling ashamed at school? You totally INTEND to turn in homework and show up for makeup tests, but then you. just. don’t. Then shame sets in, and you KNOW you should probably go talk to the teacher, but you can’t bring yourself to face it?

I have a college student who is facing a similar situation, which I explain more in the video below. I found myself asking her a question that really helped her navigate the situation, and find the bravery to take action.
Here are all the details:

And if you want to skip the video and get right to the question I asked, here it is:

Got any questions about this? Any other ideas about how YOU would handle this situation? I’d love to hear.

248: Why Teens Tell Fibs and How Parents and Educators Can Respond Effectively

Why Teens Tell Fibs and How Parents and Educators Can Respond Effectively

Teens tell fibs more often than parents wish. Some of them are pre-meditated and manipulative, but often they are a primal response to fear, especially in students with learning differences like ADHD.

In this episode, Gretchen walks you through her notes from a great presentation she heard at last November’s International ADHD Conference. The presentation was called “Beyond Fight, Flight & Freeze: Is There a Fourth F?” and was presented by Barbara Brikey Hunter and Monica Hassal. 

Specifically, she shares Hunter and Hassal’s thoughts about:

  • How the original three F’s of Flight/Fright/Freeze are connected to the nervous system’s primal response to fear, and why Fib might be the fourth F
  • How to talk to students about the effect that primal responses have in the brain
  • The acronym SPEED and how it represents fiver different reasons why students might be afraid in the moment, prompting them to Fib
  • The acronyms WIN and COOL, which represent how to support both the student and the parent in responding a fib when it’s taken place
  • Some specific phrases parents and educators can say when “catching” a student in a fib
  • And more!

For more information about these presenters, please visit Barbara Briskey Hunter’s LinkedIn Profile, and Monica Hassal’s website www.connectadhd.com

Also note: the conference where Gretchen heard them present was the 2018 International Conference on ADHD in St. Louis, sponsored by ACO, ADDA and CHADD.

Click here to listen in so that you can learn how to respond effectively!

How to Talk to a Grumpy Teacher About Grades

?Are you scared to talk to your teacher about your grades? I have a client who really wants to raise her Spanish grade, but she says her teacher is a “grumpy old lady” and fears the exchange will be very unpleasant.

I helped my client think through the possible outcomes of this conversation, and how to do it so that she can feel good about the exchange with her teacher.

Take a listen! I present two different ways of talking to your teacher. Maybe when you hear them both, it’ll be obvious why one way might make a teacher grumpy, and the other might make her grateful. ?

Here are some great ideas that we talked about to help you start a conversation with your teacher:

 

 

What If Feelings and Cognition Are More Interconnected Than We Realize?

There’s a theme that’s popping up in every corner of my coaching practice these days, and it is:

Emotion and cognition are inextricably linked!

We academics like to think that it’s possible to learn facts and skills in a totally rational way, divorced from emotion. But that’s just not true!

Also, in a separate but related fact of the contemporary world, more and more teens and young adults are being diagnosed with high level anxiety.

In this video, I reflect about these two facts, and tell two stories: one from the course I’m teaching for educators, and another from a coaching session with a high school senior.

Check it out!

 

P.S. Here is the article that I mention in the video. And the book I’m excited to read is The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, by Sarah Rose Cavanagh (2016)

 

201: How to Let Kids Fail “Small” Earlier On

Students need to become familiar with failure earlier than their parents often let them.

Megan and Gretchen discuss why it is important to let student fail small in the younger grades, and provide tips for how parents might back off as students transition from elementary to middle to high school.

 

Click here to listen to Megan and Gretchen discuss how important it is to let your student fail small at a young age.

200: How Lapses in Judgement Impact Graduation and Admissions

Teenagers often have lapses in judgement.But when these lapses go too far, how might it impact high school graduation or college admissions?

Megan lays out 5 kinds of trouble that teens can get in and analyzes how that behavior might get in the way of their next steps and goals.

Specifically, she and Gretchen discuss:

  • sexual misconduct
  • social media usage
  • underage sex and pornography
  • alcohol and drug use  and
  • “mob mentality”

Click here to listen in as Megan and Gretchen talk about 5 kinds of trouble that teens can get in.

Are You Guilty of Ambushing Your Teen?

Teens often start their coaching sessions with me super emotional. “Do you know what just happened?! My parents just ambushed me!” We then spend the next 5-10 minutes of our session processing anger, resignation, and tears.

An ambush is a surprise attack. For teens, this means that they’re often going about their day, feeling pretty good and with their own sense of a plan for what needs to be done. And then wham!! Suddenly they are faced with an angry parent accusing them of getting a zero on an assignment, or not following up with a task they were supposed to do.

In this video, we look at how to catch yourself when you might be about to ambush your teen, and what to do instead. After all, if a student feels accused, they’re less likely to follow through on the task that you think they should be doing! So you can’t really go wrong if you spend time learning how to communicate in a way a teenager can hear.

Check out the video here:

 

If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

Why Teens Think You’re Yelling Even If You Aren’t

Is there a teenager in your life who seems overly dramatic? As a parent, are you often accused of yelling when you think you’re talking in a reasonable tone?

Over the years, I’ve had a number of students who complain that their parents yell too much, but the parents insist that their teenager is exaggerating.

I often find that families benefit from hearing about a research study that explains why this disconnect might be happening. Check out the video for details (and if you happen to know where I can find the study that I describe here, please let me know!! I can’t find it!).

If you are a parent looking for help for your child or a teacher looking for study tips for your students take a look at The Anti-Boring Approach!

Does Your Family Need a Nag Plan?

Parents, do you feel like you are endlessly nagging your teens to get their homework done? Teens, are you sick of hearing your parents nag?

Some of my clients are benefiting from creating a “nag plan” with their parents. Check out this video to hear more about what a “nag plan” is, and how one family is implementing it at home.

A word of warning: a “Nag Plan” is not for every family or every student! I have some students who totally shut down EVERY TIME their parents remind them to do anything. However, there are other teens who recognize they NEED their parents’ support to stay motivated, and because of that, they feel better when they can control how their parents’ nag. That’s what’s so special about a “Nag Plan”. Check out the video and see if you think it’ll work for you.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

I have a client who has just the worst executive function skills you’ve ever seen. He has a terrible time getting started on his homework. He’s a senior in high school and relies on his mom nagging him to get his homework done, and he’s okay, mostly, with his mom nagging him. That said, his mom is going out of the country for two weeks and it’s a crucial time in the semester, so his dad will have to take over the nagging. So we sat down in our last session and discussed a “nag plan” or an agreement between the student and parent that would work for both of them regarding the nagging so that hopefully the student will be less ornery and the parent doesn’t have to worry. So here’s a copy of the nag plan we came up with:

Gretchen Wegner, Nag, Nagging, Student, Parent, Students, Parents, Homework, Studying, Academic Coach, Academic Coaching,

The first check mark is that on weekends the student and dad will start and end each day looking at a to-do list to see what needs to be done and checking things off at the end of the day. The next thing, is that the student would like a check-in every 20 to 30 minutes; however, the dad then asked, “yes, but when I’ve checked in in the past, you get mad at me, so what should I say when I check in?” The student said he’d like the dad to say, “How far along are you?”, so now we have an actual script from the student to the parent. Next, the dad asked the son to use a program called Self Control that blocks certain websites for an hour to help him focus, which the son agreed with. And then we discussed breaks, how long they should be, what the activities allowed should be, etc. And finally, we talked about how the son was going to try and respond to his dad, and I told the dad that if the son was being too ornery, then he could just text me and I’d text the student, after all, that’s what I’m there for.

I haven’t yet heard how this nag plan is working out, but I wanted to get this video out to you all because I think a nag plan is a great thing for families to have, just to make some agreements about how communication around homework and follow through is going to happen. And if you feel that you could use some outside help with your homework and studying, please consider checking out The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

One Way to Get Better Help From Your Teacher

Do you ever need to email your teachers because something they did or said is confusing, and you need clarification?

One of the skills I work on with teenagers is how to communicate respectfully with teachers without sounding like you are blaming or accusing them. This is a HARD lesson for many teens to learn and takes some practice.

Listen in as I share a story about a recent young man (sophomore in high school) who caught himself writing some blaming language to his teacher, and figured out — all by himself! — how to correct it.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back. Here’s a short summary:

One of the skills I end up working on quite often with students, that I hadn’t originally thought I would, is writing emails. And this week I was talking with one of my clients, and he needed to write an email to one of his teachers. He was walking himself through it, and while I usually walk my clients through the email writing process, this young man is a good communicator and his parents work hard with him to help him be a good communicator. Anyways, here’s something that he caught himself doing that I wanted to share with you.

Gretchen Wegner, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying, Email, Emailing Teachers, Communication, Teacher and student relationships, student email, teacher, teachers, students, teenagers, high school

As you can see above we have a little image of my client typing up his email and what he noticed was that he was starting to write “You were confusing in class today”, but he stopped himself and rewrote it as “I have confusion about what we were doing in class today.” And this is something he said his mom drilled into him last year ad nauseam, the importance of not blaming the teacher with your language; regardless of whether you think it was the teacher’s fault or not. We want to try and take ownership as much as possible in our email communications, as we will get better help from our teachers if we are generous with our communication.

So I just loved that he caught himself there and the truth is that “I have confusion” was very true, as he is confused, regardless of what the cause of the confusion is. And by checking his language and tweaking it so he took responsibility for his experience, he is much more likely to get help from his teacher now, and in the future.

I hope this tip is helpful, and if you want more tips and advice on communicating with your teacher, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.

Should You Remind Your Teen To Do Homework?

Hey there teens, do you feel like your parents are checking in on whether you’re doing your homework or not too often? Parents, do you feel like your teen isn’t getting their homework done – and are you checking in on them regularly?

As an Academic Life Coach, I meet with both my clients (who are often teenagers) weekly and also their parents for checkups. And so I have a client I just had a session with who is finishing up his freshman year in high school, and one of the things we were talking about this week is how often his parents should be checking in on him regarding his homework. This week’s video is for both you parents and teenagers out there, regarding parent’s checking in on their teen’s homework.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, I’ve got your back with this summary:

As teenagers, and we’ve all be there, we start seeking our independence. It’s not unusual that when we hit our mid teens that we start wanting to fend for ourselves, and this includes academically. As I was saying, I have a client, who is just finishing up his freshman year in high school, and he feels that his parents are checking in on his homework way too much. Now, he has ADHD and a bit of a perfectionist, and therefore in his previous years he’s had a history of not getting homework turned in on time or at all. As a result, his parents would regularly check in with him regarding his homework to make sure he was getting it done, and in middle school, this worked great. However, now he’s pushing back against them, and he said something that I felt was very insightful.

Should You Remind Your Teen To Do Homework?, Parents, Teenagers, Adolescents, Teenage Stubbornness, Homework, Accept Consequences of Actions, Independence, Freedom,

“I don’t want my parents to be right. I don’t want them to think that I’m doing my homework because THEY told me to.” He wanted to be doing it because he knew he needed to for his future. And I can totally relate to this, and I’m sure a LOT of parents out there if you think back to your teenage years you’ll have a similar story to mine. I remember in high school I had an Algebra teacher who told me and reminded me regularly, that I could have an A in his class. My father, who is a mathematician, also was convinced I could have an A, and so they both regularly were checking in on me and pushing me to get an A in that class. As a result, I pushed back, and decided, “No, that’s their goal, I don’t care, and I’m not going to get an A.” Sure enough, I got a B in that class. Similarly, my client says that most of the time when his parents check in on him he’s already doing his homework, but because they check in with him, that makes him feel stubborn and he will often STOP doing his homework because of it.

There comes a time when teenagers want to start feeling more independent, and we as parents and guardians need to let them accept the consequences of their actions so that they can learn from it. Now, of course, this advice isn’t applicable to all families, as I don’t know the specifics of your situation and your parent/child dynamics; however, I did think this was a theme worth sharing – that sometimes when we as a family check in too often on our teenagers we are getting in the way of them experiencing their own independence.

As always, if you found this tip useful, or if you have any questions feel free to email me at Gretchen@GretchenWegner.com and if you feel you need help with your academics please consider looking at my online course!

College Prep Podcast #142: How to Learn Foreign Languages Faster & Better

Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | The College Prep Podcast | How to Learn Foreign Languages Faster & Better | Learning | English | Students | Vocabulary | Grammar | Word | Writing | Language | Does foreign language learning seem awfully slow? Tune in as Megan and Gretchen reflect about 10+ ways to learn languages, including English, faster and more effectively.

Today’s episode is a response to a listener named Hassan, who lives in Iran and is studying electrical engineering. He wants to know how to learn English faster. This advice will be for students who want to go “above and beyond” the language learning they’re already doing in their classrooms.

Some of the suggestions Gretchen and Megan include:

  • Daily practice of vocabulary and grammar
  • Sign up for a “word a day” SAT service, and practice incorporating that word in your daily life.
  • Speak with native speakers as much as possible. Finds ways to “immerse” yourself.
  • Listen to TV, radio, and podcasts. Talk about them with friends in the language you’re listening to them in.
  • Watch the “close captioning” so that you are seeing the language as well as hearing it
  • When there are words or phrases you really want to learn, put them up in your bedroom in visible ways, so you are surrounded by them
  • Practice writing  more in that language, and get someone to help you improve that writing by editing it for and with you
  • Get grammar support by googling “best online grammar practice.”
  • and more!

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Inspire Struggling Learners to Study Harder, Learn More & Raise Grades

“I’m lazy,” teens often tell me when I meet them for the first time. Parents often confirm this. And so do teachers, when I email them to get more info about how a client is doing in their class.

I know students often feel lazy. And they certainly seem lazy to parents, who watch their teens get sucked into the vortex of their phones.

But what if students are not lazy at all. What if — God forbid — it’s the adults around them who are helping to create the conditions for this apparent “laziness”?

Let me explain:

As an academic life coach with a glimpse into hundreds of classrooms throughout my career, I’ve noticed two different tendencies amongst the students who seek me out:

  1. Some students try really hard. They stress themselves out keeping up with their school work. Despite their best efforts, these kiddos still perform poorly on tests. Argh! Why?!
  1. Other students seem apathetic, perhaps even lazy. They can’t motivate themselves to learn, despite teachers’ best intentions to make curriculum interesting and their parents’ best efforts to keep them on track.

I’m guessing that YOU are the kind of educator who has also noticed this trend… and is doing what you can to reverse it. 

You are sincere, creative and a hard worker. You’ve done your darndest to design a curriculum that will be motivating and effective for students.

So why are students STILL struggling so much?!

What are we missing as educators that hold them back?

As an academic coach I’ve spent thousands of hours talking to stressed out and/or unmotivated students, and one pattern has emerged from these conversations that are striking —

Students don’t know how to study. Everyone TELLS them to study, schools and parents EXPECT them to study, but no one has actually taught them how.

“But that’s not true!” you might be thinking. “I tell my students exactly how to study for my tests. I give them study guides, quizlet sets and teach fun mnemonics! Why isn’t that enough?!”

I don’t doubt this is true. Many educators ARE giving students a zillion resources to help them study. However, this is what I’ve learned in my hours coaching teenagers from around the country:

The way adults talk to students about their own learning may be backfiring!

That was true for me, at least, for the years that I was a classroom teacher. Once I became an academic life coach, I discovered that I needed to unlearn a number of bad habits about how to talk to students about learning and studying.

Although my actions were intended to help students become more engaged, proactive learners — instead they created the opposite effect.

Students became passive learners, dependent on their teacher’s creativity and curriculum development expertise to guide their learning. They didn’t know how to teach themselves. 

Now that I am an academic life coach, I’ve been unlearning these bad habits. I’m watching my student clients transform their learning, lower their stress level and raise their grades in unprecedented numbers. I’m also watching the teens who seemed lazy perk up and start taking action.

If I can do this as a coach, you can do this too — as the incredible teachers, counselors, tutors, and coaches that YOU are.

So, what are these bad teaching habits to which well-meaning educators fall prey?

Here are the top four bad habits that I discovered in myself and have observed in other educators:

  1. We overuse the word “study,” assuming it communicates something of value to our students.
  2. We teach specific strategies (like flashcards) that worked for us when we were students.
  3. We focus on “learning styles” as the way to discover how to study effectively.
  4. We break learning down for students into bite-size, motivating chunks and provide clear instructions for students.

Well hold up, you might be thinking! Aren’t these the tenets of good, progressive education? How can they possibly be bad teaching and tutoring habits?

I feel your pain. I was surprised, too, to discover that certain “facts” of good teaching in which I’d been trained sometimes do more harm than good. Why might that be?

Let’s take a closer look at each of these bad habits that are plaguing well-meaning teachers, tutors, and academic coaches:

Bad Habit #1 – Educators overuse the word “study.”

Imagine the following scene:

It’s Wednesday, 4th-period chemistry. The teacher writes on the board, “Study for test on Friday.” Students make a mental note, “Ok, I better study for that test”; some even write “study” into their planners. Parents, coaches and tutors see the word “study” in the planner and follow up by asking, “Have you studied for the test yet?” The student responds somewhat impatiently, responds, “Yes! Yes! I’m studying.”

Think about it: How many times was the word “study” used? Was anything of value about the learning process communicated in these brief interactions?

I’d argue NO! This entire conversation about studying is largely meaningless. How do students decide what they need to DO to study?! How will they know when they’ve been successful studying, and are ready to take the test?

Because students aren’t actually taught the theory behind effective study and the strategies associated with that theory, they often go home and do one of two things:

  1. They try to “study” the best way they know how, often by rereading the textbook and reviewing and highlighting notes. Some make flashcards, though this technique is often a time-waster too (more on that later). Or…
  2. They simply don’t study, either because the actions I’ve described above are unmotivating and uninspiring or because they don’t believe they need to study.

When test grades are published, student’s spirits are dashed. “But I studied!” they say. “How come I got such a bad grade?” The answer is — because they studied in ways that felt effective but are are not actually effective.

As an academic life coach, I am on a mission to banish the words “study” and “review” from the English language. Ok. I know. That’s pretty impossible. But what if educators, parents, and students used it a lot less? How would you talk about test preparation with students if you weren’t allowed to use either the word “study” or the word “review”?!  Too often the use of these words allow us to live under the illusion that we are communicating something of value about the learning process, when truthfully we are not.

What should teachers, tutors, and academic coaches do instead? 

  • Quick Tip: Start noticing when you use the word “study” and what you are actually trying to communicate. Play around with banishing the word “study” from your vocabulary for a day or two. What might you say instead?   You might even include your students in this game! See how this experiment forces you to talk about learning in new ways. 
  • Advanced Tip: Want to know the 3 words that I use with my clients instead of the word “study”? Watch the FREE demonstration video that’s embedded here. You might even print out the graphic of the 3-step Study Cycle that I provide in my e-book, post it somewhere visible, and practice using those words with your students instead.

So, what’s the next blind spot I’ve noticed in educators (and of which I was also guilty)?

Bad Habit #2 – Educators teach specific strategies (like flashcards) that worked for us when we were students.

I’m guessing you are one of the many thoughtful teachers, coaches, and tutors who DO teach specific strategies for studying. Perhaps you suggest flashcards or provide mnemonics to help students memorize complex information. Maybe you hand out a study guide with suggestions for how to use it. Some teachers (I was one of these!) even build studying for a test into the curriculum, guiding students through the steps they need to prepare.

Yes! This is all good pedagogy!

Here’s the problem:

First, usually, we pick the strategies that worked well for us when we were students. But not all learners are going to rock the information just because they’re studying it in a way that worked for you.

Also, well-meaning educators often suggest strategies without explaining WHY these strategies tend to work. We assume that the strategy in and of itself is what will help the student study. But even the BEST strategies can fail if implemented in ways that ignore how the brain is built to learn. I know so many students who are bored to death by flashcards, but who use them anyway because they’ve been taught it is a successful learning strategy.

Many educators themselves don’t truly understand how learning happens in the brain. I sure didn’t, before I became an academic life coach. In our teacher education programs, we are taught strategies for engaging students, but we aren’t taught how this fits into a brain-based model for how learning happens.

When we teach strategies without teaching the underlying theory about why that strategy might work, we are creating kids’ dependence on the specific strategies. We are teaching them that the way to study is to throw a random strategy at the problem and hope you learn the information.

What should teachers, tutors, and academic coaches do instead? 

  • Quick Tip: When you hand students a new assignment, ask students to look it over and reflect: “What is the purpose of this activity? What am I supposed to learn?” and then “How does the design of this lesson help me learn this objective?”  The goal here is to help them start to distinguish between learning objectives and the strategies used to achieve that objective. 
  • Advanced Tip: Teach students the 3-Step Study Cycle. Once they understand each of the three steps, have them reflect about which step of the cycle they are in for each kind of assignment you offer. This tip might not make much sense now, but it will make more sense after you read the description of the 3-Step Study Cycle and watch the demo that I provide, both of which are available here for free.

Bad Habit #3 – We focus on “learning styles” as the way to discover how to study and learn effectively.

Many educators — myself included! — have espoused learning styles as an important factor in increasing student motivation and performance.

When I was a classroom teacher, I had students take learning inventories, and then I would use the results of this inventory to help individualize student learning. For example, I’d have students who tested as “visual learners” do history projects that were primarily visual; students who tested as “logical” thinkers could write an essay or create a chart filled with information.

When I was trained as an academic coach, I was taught to use these same inventories with my clients, and then apply the results to help the students maximize their learning.

In the last few years, however, I’ve stopped giving these inventories. I DO still believe that every person learns differently and that it is important for students to understand — and advocate for! — learning methods that reveal their strengths.

However, I’ve noticed that too much of an emphasis on learning styles makes students less inclined to learn in ways that are *not* their learning preferences. In recent years, brain science has backed up my observations, stating that the most effective learning strategies use all parts of the brain, regardless of whether the students has a specific preference for that strategy.

What should we teach instead?   

  • Quick Tip: Teach students that the brain needs to learn information in a multitude of different ways. If one method doesn’t seem to be helping them learn, then students should be flexible enough to choose a different learning strategy, even if it’s NOT their preference or dominant learning style. 
  • Advanced Tip: So that students understand the brain-based reasons why variety is important in learning, teach them the 3 Step Study Cycle (it only takes 5-minutes to teach, as you’ll see in this demo). Then brainstorm with them multiple strategies for studying the same content when they are on their own, using the Study Cycle as a guide.

Bad Habit #4 – We break learning down for students into bite-size chunks.

When I did my teacher training, I learned of the importance of breaking tasks down for students to help them be successful. I mastered the art of creating engaging, complex curricula for students, as well as how to break it into discrete, doable parts with clear instructions so that students wouldn’t get lost in all the details.
This is an important teaching skill! I don’t knock it, and I hope you continue to do it!

However, a side effect of this kind of teacher-intensive curricula is that it can accidentally foster dependence rather than independence in students.

Students depend on the instructions. They wait to be told what to do, for the adults to initiate action.
I can’t tell you how many of my clients have answered my question, “Why didn’t you take notes in class today?” with the, “My teacher didn’t tell me to.” Argh! I stifle my frustration at this answer with, “Your teacher shouldn’t have to tell you to take notes!! You should know what’s good for your own learning, and be able to take initiative on your own!”

The side effect of our willingness as educators to break learning into digestible parts is that the teens themselves don’t have to learn to do this for themselves. They’re off the hook and don’t need to understand how successful learning happens for them. Instead, they mindlessly follow (or resist) the teacher’s instructions, a habit that is not conducive to lifelong learning.

Even tutors foster passivity and dependence in students. I’ve had several students who’ve told me, “Oh, I don’t need to study for the Spanish test by myself; I’ll just do it with my tutor.”

When students rely on their tutors and teachers to guide their study process, they are abdicating responsibility for their own learning. So what should teachers and tutors do instead?

Here’s a quick tip you can apply immediately:

  • Quick Tip: After you teach a lesson, ask students to reflect on what they just learned and how they learned it. Ask them to notice the ultimate learning objective, and how you structured the learning to help them get there. Invite them to remember that when they are studying at home, they are in charge of designing their own learning process.*
  • Truly Highly Advanced Tip: Check out my list of 7 types of struggling students, including each student’s “study blind spot” and “study solution.” This will help you hone how you work with specific types of students to help them study more strategically, including which step of the Study Cycle each kind of student needs more practice with.

*You may notice that this tip is very similar to the one I made for Bad Habit #2. This is purposeful! It is helpful to ask students to seek out the learning objectives both (1) before they complete a worksheet or assignment and (2) after they have engaged in a learning activity. The more often you have them reflect about what kinds of learning strategies help them achieve what kinds of learning, the more self-sufficient they will become at being able to structure their own learning when they are at home studying.

Is It Really This Simple to Help Students Break Through Passivity and Become Strategic Learners?

Yes! In my experience, most students are eager to learn how to become more effective learners. However, adults make it seem so complex! When they are introduced to a simple, easy-to-understand model for how to learn strategically, they rise to the occasion.

That’s why I’m such a fan of the 3-Step Study Cycle. I teach it to all my clients now, and I’m watching them become creative, engaged, skillful learners as a result. In fact, just a week ago a college freshman who’d been getting C’s and D’s on most of his tests this semester, came to his session with his eyes beaming. Here’s a summary of our conversation:

Student: Guess what?! I got an A on the test!!!!!!!

Me: OMG! Seriously?! Wow!!! How’d you manage that?!

Student: I followed the study cycle. And I worked really hard to hone my notes*.  In the past, I could usually narrow the multiple choice answers down to two that seemed similar, but I never knew what the right answer was. This time I totally knew! It was clear to me because I’d taken the time to encode the stuff I didn’t know in new ways*.

I’m so proud of this young man for working so hard to understand how to study strategically and raise his grades. He clearly worked hard! In that respect, it’s not simple to become a strategic learner; it involves hard work!

However, it is simple to teach students how to study strategically. And in my experience, it all starts with a 5-minute conversation that I fondly call the 3-Step Study Cycle. I’m such a believer in this process I’ve discovered that I wrote up an instruction manual for how to teach it to students, and I’m giving it away for FREE:

Click here to download your FREE copy of The Art of Inspiring Students: How to “Trick” Struggling Learners Into Studying Harder, Learning More, and Raising Grades.

In this short instruction manual, you’ll receive:

  • suggestions for how to talk to students about the difference between homework and studying
  • an overview of the 3-Step Study Cycle, a brain-based model for effective and efficient learning
  • a video demonstration of how I teach the Study Cycle to students
  • 5 different sets of learning tools that help students apply The Study Cycle more effectively
  • the 7 types of struggling learners, and which study tools work best for which learners

Phew! That was a lot to take in! If you have questions or observations for me about any of these bad habits, please feel free to post below. I look forward to engaging with you.

How Involved Should Parents Be In Their Student’s School Work?

screen-shot-2016-08-08-at-11-37-09-amIt’s every parent’s dilemma — how involved is TOO involved to be in your child’s education?

On the one hand, you want them to be self-sufficient, and a self-motivated learner. On the other hand, you also want them to be college ready, and are scared that — left to their own devices — they won’t progress fast enough to be college-ready.

Megan and Gretchen discuss elementary, middle, and high school parenting, and share a list of guidelines for how to support your student while still nurturing their self-sufficiency. Included in the conversation:

  • when should parents intervene with teachers and the school, and when should they let students figure it out themselves
  • how to support students with homework
  • when do you let students solve problems for themselves, and when do you solve them for them,
  • and more!

Gretchen also shares some wisdom from the book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success  by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Got any questions or comments about how to apply anything we said in this episode to your situation? Please email us! We love addressing your questions on the podcast (free coaching for you! yes!). Find us at collegepreppodcast@gmail.com.

 

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This podcast was originally broadcast on www.collegepreppodcast.com

A Handy Tool for College Students to Start the Semester

I’m excited to share with you a handy tool for college students.

This was taught to me by a real live student (shout out to Harrison!). He is a sophomore in college and interned with me over the summer.
I LOVE this tool that he makes for himself, and I wanted to share it with you all — including a tweak or two that I’d make to it.

Check out the video, and then PLEASE forward it to any college students you know could benefit from this handy little one-page organizational tool.

For more time management and study solutions for students, parents and educators, please sign up for the Anti-Boring Approach to Successful Studying Course HERE

Why Teens Should Stop Being Afraid of Librarians

Why are so many students hesitant to talk to Librarians?

Have you (or a teen you know) ever had a burning research question but been afraid to talk to a librarian? So many of my clients would prefer to spend hours alone googling for resources than spend 20 minutes with a knowledgeable librarian.

However, librarians are there to help and they love to answer questions. Research is definitely in their wheelhouse!  In this video, I share a few fun and creative ideas for helping students overcome their reluctance to ask for help. Getting past this minor roadblock will definitely benefit students in the future when more complicated research is needed for lengthy high school and college essays.

Would you like to learn more great tips like this? My online course The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying is filled with 30+ tools for rocking school…and is perfect for teens, parents, or educators.

How to Tell Your Professor About Your Learning Difference

Do you have a learning difference that impacts your experience of school?

How do you feel about telling your teachers and professors about it?
Many of my clients resist telling their professors because it’s such a vulnerable thing to admit! However, this is such an important conversation, it’s important to know how to psych yourself up for it.

Here’s how I recommended that one of my clients inform their professors about her learning difference.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

 

I was just walking around a lake near my house with a client of mine, who goes to college out of state, and when she came back after this last quarter, we decided to do an outside meeting instead of the usual meeting in my office. And it was so great to hear her reflections about what she learned in this last quarter, and I there was one thing, in particular, I wanted to discuss with you all today that she told me about.

This client has a learning difference, and she had an interesting reflection around how she wants to discuss this with her professors in the future. She has a piece of paper she usually presents to her professors at the start of each semester, that states she is entitled to extended time on tests if she needs it. However; what she realized, is that she wants to make this presentation in the second week of class, that way she has time to look over the syllabus, get to know how this professor teaches, and to make some notes for herself about what specific problems she might have in this particular class, with their specific syllabus, and their specific teaching style. This way, when she goes to talk to her professors she can personalize the presentation and discuss with her professors what troubles she might have and have some open dialogue with her professors about how she might get help with those specific issues she might have.

Want more tips and tricks for how to handle a learning difference? My course has lots of great tips, tricks, and ideas that can help you to manage your learning difference and be successful, so please consider checking it out!

A Giant Fear That Makes Students Unnecessarily Stuck

Is talking or confronting your teacher a problem for you (or your teen)?

This is one of the most common problems my clients encounter — whether they are in 6th grade or grad school!

The other day, a client and I chatted about how to work with this fear of talking to people in authority. Here’s a little glimpse into what we chatted about:

How do you handle fears that come up around talking to people in authority? Got any questions? Concerns? Brainstorms? I’d love to hear them!

Stop Letting Anxiety and Intimidation Ruin Your Grades

Is anxiety a problem for you, especially when talking to teachers?

I’m consistently amazed by how reluctant my clients are to reach out to their teachers when they become confused about something.

Today’s video is relevant if you are a teacher AND if you’re a student who is too intimidated to ask teachers questions:

Teachers, how do you make it easier for students to feel comfortable reaching out to you? Students, what additional tricks do you have for getting up the guts to talk to teachers? I’d love to hear from both of you!

Feel free to ask questions as well, and I may just tackle it on the College Prep Podcast.

How to Get the Most From Working with An Academic Coach

Do you want to make sure you get your money’s worth when working with me (or any other academic life coach)?

Recently a client blew me away with how organized she was at the beginning of our session, and I wanted to share what she did with you.

Even if you don’t currently work with a coach, the tip is just as relevant for how to talk to your teachers (or your boss, for that matter). Check it out:

Got any other tips for how to get the most from the people who help you? I’d love to hear any ideas…or any questions!

Simply reply to this email or post on YouTube or on the blog.