Counselor   Corner

Highly Effective Study Habits

Students grapple with many issues in their lives, and because of all of the competing things for your attention, it’s hard to concentrate on studying. And yet if you’re in school, you have to do at least a little studying in order to progress from year to year. The key to effective studying isn’t cramming or studying longer, but studying smarter. You can begin studying smarter with these ten proven and effective study habits.

1. How you approach studying matters

Too many people look at studying as a necessary task, not an enjoyment or opportunity to learn. That’s fine, but researchers have found that how you approach something matters almost as much as what you do. Being in the right mindset is important in order to study smarter.

Sometimes you can’t “force” yourself to be in the right mindset, and it is during such times you should simply avoid studying.

2. Where you study is important

A lot of people make the mistake of studying in a place that really isn’t conducive to concentrating. A place with a lot of distractions makes for a poor study area. If you try and study in your dorm room, for instance, you may find the computer, TV, or a roommate more interesting than the reading material you’re trying to digest.

3. Bring everything you need, nothing you don’t

Unfortunately, when you find an ideal place to study, sometimes people bring things they don’t need. For instance, while it may seem ideal to type notes into a computer to refer back to later, computers are a powerful distraction for many people because they can do so many different things. Playing games, going online, messaging, surfing the Web and answering emails are all wonderful distractions that have nothing to do with studying. Don’t forget the things you need to study for the class, exam or paper you’re focusing on for the study session.

4. Outline and rewrite your notes

The important thing to remember in writing outlines is that an outline only words as a learning tool when it is in your own words and structure. Every person is unique in how they put similar information. It may also be helpful to use as many senses as possible when studying, because information is retained more readily in people when other senses are involved. That’s why writing notes works in the first place – it puts information into words and terms you understand. Mouthing the words out loud while you copy the notes before an important exam can be one method for involving yet another sense.

5. Use memory games

Memory games or mnemonic devices are methods for remembering pieces of information using a simple association of common words. Mnemonic devices are helpful because you use more of your brain to remember visual and active images than you do to remember just a list of items. Using more of your brain means better memory.

6. Practice by yourself or with friends

The old age adage, practice makes perfect, is true. You can practice by yourself by testing yourself with either practice exams, past quizzes, or flash cards.

Some people enjoy reviewing their materials with a group of friends or classmates. Such groups work best when they’re kept small (4 or 5 others), with people of similar academic aptitude, and with people taking the same class.

7. Make a schedule you can stick to

You should study regularly throughout the semester for as many classes as you can. Some people study every day, others put it off to once or twice a week. The frequency isn’t as important as actually studying on a regular basis. Even if you just crack open a book once a week for a class, it’s better than waiting until the first exam in a massive cram session.

Scheduling is even more important if you’re going to be a part of a study group. If only half of your members are committed to a study group for every meeting, then you need to find other study group members who are as committed as you are.

8. Take breaks

Because so many people view studying as a chore or task, it’s human nature to avoid it. If, however, you find rewards to help reinforce what you’re doing, you may be pleasantly surprised by the change you may find in your attitude over time.

Rewards start by chunking study time into manageable components. Studying for 4 hours at a time with no breaks is not realistic or fun for most people. Studying for 1 hour, and then taking a 5 minute break and grabbing a snack is usually more sustainable and enjoyable. Divide study time into segments that make sense and work for you.

9. Keep healthy and balanced

Don’t spend all of your time studying – have friends, keep in touch with your family, and find interests outside of school that you can pursue and enjoy. Finding balance isn’t really something that can be taught, it’s something that comes with experience and simply living. But you can work to try and keep your health and body balanced, by doing what you already know – exercise regularly and eat right.

Don’t forget to learn!

Studying isn’t just about passing an exam, as most students look at it as. Studying is an effort to actually learn things, some of which you might actually care about.

Source: John M. Grohol, Psy.D/Psychcentral



Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices are techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something. In other words, it’s a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information.

Popular mnemonic devices include:

The Method of Loci

The Method of Loci is a mnemonic device that dates back to Ancient Greek times, making it one of the oldest ways of memorizing we know of. Using the Method of Loci is easy. First, imagine a place with which you are familiar. For instance, if you use your house, the rooms in your house become the objects of information you need to memorize. Another example is to use the route to your work or school, with landmarks along the way becoming the information you need to memorize.

You go through a list of words or concepts needing memorization, and associate each word with one of your locations. You should go in order so that you will be able to retrieve all of the information in the future.

Acronyms

An acronym is a word formed from the first letters or groups of letters in a name or phrase. An acrostic is a series of lines from which particular letters (such as the first letters of all lines) from a word or phrase. These can be used as mnemonic devices by taking the first letters of words or names that need to be remembered and developing an acronym or acrostic.

Rhymes

A rhyme is a saying that has similar terminal sounds at the end of each line. Rhymes are easier to remember because they can be stored by acoustic encoding in our brains. For example:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, with twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine each leap year.

Chunking & Organization

Chunking is simply a way of breaking down larger pieces of information into smaller, organized “chunks” of more easily-managed information. Since short-term human memory is limited to approximately 7 items of information, placing larger quantities of information into smaller containers helps our brains remember more, and more easily.

Organizing information into either objective or subjective categories also helps. Objective organization is placing information into well-recognized, logical categories. Trees and grass are plants; a cricket is an insect. Subjective organization is categorizing seemingly unrelated items in a way that helps you recall the items later. This can also be useful because it breaks down the amount of information to learn.

Imagery

Visual imagery is a great way to help memorize items for some people. For instance, it’s often used to memorize pairs of words (green grass, yellow sun, blue water, etc.). The Method of Loci, mentioned above, is a form of using imagery for memorization. By recalling specific imagery, it can help us recall information we associated with that imagery. Imagery usually works best with smaller pieces of information.

Source: The Internet




16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People.

Most articles about everyday habits offer only the overall, generic advice like: ‘go above and beyond,’ ‘get more organized,’ ‘respect others,’ etc. without offering any doable tricks or examples of what this actually looks like. What many of these articles fail to provide is applicable, basic tips that the basic layman can apply to life tomorrow and instantly feel better about their circumstances. That ends here.

Below you will find a list of 16 tips and tricks that will help guide you to a more fulfilled life.

1. They Make Lists

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the requirements of a dream-like project. Creating a daily list of “action items” that need to be accomplished keeps successful people honest, motivated, and constantly progressing. Start small, and gradually build. (Trick: do this first thing in the morning. Make a brief list of all the things you need to accomplish to make the day a triumph.)

2. They Maximize Down Time

There’s always something to learn, or things that need to get done. Successful people embrace this. Having a time surplus is a good indicator that your challenge is either too small or you’re not thinking big enough. (Trick: concentrate on segregating your free time – i.e. one hour video editing practice, half hour reading video editing book, half hour watching beautifully edited films of others, repeat.)

3. They Reflect on Mistakes & Grow

When faced with a challenge, overcoming fear, or coming back from a “failure,” successful people are focused on growth more than they fixate on the outcome of failure. (Trick: when feeling letdown, reflect by writing 3 things that went wrong in the process and how you plan to fix them next time.)

4. They Limit Technological Distractions

We live in a world that is constantly stimulated by electronic communication. Text messaging, the virtual worlds of social media, and mobile email capability can become serious time drains if handled inappropriately. (Trick: limit yourself to checking your social media accounts and emails once a day to limit distractions. There’s an app to keep you honest with that.)

5. They Forget About Perfection

There will never be the perfect time to do a great thing. Successful people understand this, and don’t use their perfectionism substitute for procrastination. No matter how inexperienced, uneducated, or unprepared you might feel, right now is the best time to jump into action. (Trick: think of an endeavor you undertook and performed perfectly. No mistakes at all. That’s what I thought.)

6. They Collect Their Thoughts Immediately

For many successful people, their best ideas, or what psychologists call ah-ha ‘moments,’ come at inopportune times like during exercise or their daily commute. Collecting those thoughts will allow you to reflect on them later. (Trick: keep a pocket-sized journal in your backpack or purse for note taking. There are apps for this, too.)

7. They Do Nice Things, But Don’t Tell Everyone

One of the many problems mass media has created is the idea that successful people always perform in front of others. As a society we often discredit the amount of hard work, practice, and sleepless nights these phenomena spent alone with their craft, with no one around. (Trick: do something small each day for a whole week to progress your dream. Tell no one.)

8. They Remind Themselves of their Mortality

We have a limited amount of time on earth, and there’s no sense in hiding from how fast time goes. Successful people understand this, and use it as an advantage in letting no day go by wasted or squandered. (Trick: Envision an older version of yourself watching you throughout the day, and do today what you’d regret later in life. Creepy? Yes. Effective? Yes.)

9. They Define Success Themselves

Success is a large word thrown around by many small mouths. It’s a shame and, honestly, it’s a sham. A large bank account, sexy spouse, or lavish wardrobes do not define success in business, life, love, and other. YOU do. (Trick: look to people you idolize. Write down what you like about them. Chances are good that the adjectives and emotions you used are some of their proudest features.)

10. They Outwork Everyone

My mother once told me that, “There will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, and more capable than you, but you’ll never be outworked.” Though some may view this as counterproductive, I’ve never had such sage and practical advice in my life. (Trick: pretend adversity. I guarantee you’ll want to prove everyone wrong as a result, even if they’re made up.)

11. They Don’t Envy Others

Successful people don’t have time to worry about the successes or failures of others because they’re too focused on what they want. Eliminate envy, and other negative emotions, as you’ll surely free your mind for bigger things. (Trick: talk up and freely promote others you admire, even if they don’t return the favor.)

12. They Heed Danger in Lounging

I’m not here to demonize TV, but studies have shown that success and television viewing have a negative correlation (when success goes up, television watching goes down). We only have so much free time in the day, and successful people spend it educating themselves by feeding their brain instead of numbing it.

13. They Believe That Fate Is Fake

Destiny and luck is a product of hard work and sacrifice. Successful athletes, CEOs, and film stars don’t “take days off.” They’re consistently dedicated to bettering each aspect of their life daily. (Trick: don’t overload yourself at once. Take small bites, 7 days a week, and build up.)

14. They Are the Man in the Glass

Successful people know what they want, and visualize how their strengths and weaknesses will play to their favor or downfall. Sure, everyone’s filled with doubt and fear that they’ll flop, but successful people know exactly what it takes to rise above as a result of spending so much time alone. At the end of the day, they are the only person they answer to. (Trick: Be by yourself. No phone. No friends. No roommates. You. Alone. BY YOURSELF.)

15. They Embrace Criticism

Nobody likes being booed, but they normally come from the cheap seats. Instead of getting defensive and immediately dismissing the negative opinions of others, successful people listen, heed those words, and use them to grow. (Trick: next time you’re confronted with negativity, agree and thank them for it. It will completely disarm your hater.)

16. They Always Finish Strong

No one, I repeat, NO ONE is an off-the-bat success. From Muhammad Ali to Mahatma Gandhi, all successes have taken their bruises and lumps, and they kept on going. No matter what happens, or whatever the end result may be, seeing something through to the end will help you develop the resolve to continue taking chances, growing, and bettering yourself.

Next time you’re in the situation of becoming your own worst critic, remember that,
“The road to personal excellence has no end.”

Trust in yourself, keep your head down, and keep moving forward no matter what.



Benefits of Outdoor Play for Young Kids: Forest Kindergartner

For the typical Indian kindergartner, unstructured free play during the school day consists of 20 to 30 minutes of recess, and perhaps some time at indoor “stations” — perhaps creating with building blocks, costumes, or musical instruments. But what if there was more? What if the answer to “what did you do in school today?” was, “I climbed a tree, played in the mud, built a fire”?

That is exactly the, where children ages four to seven spend all of their school days playing outdoors, no matter the weather.

Swiss Method of Teaching

With no explicit math or literacy taught until first grade, the Swiss have no set goals for kindergartners beyond a few measurements, like using scissors and writing one’s own name. They instead have chosen to focus on the social interaction and emotional well-being found in free play.

With many parents and educators overwhelmed by the amount of academics required for kindergartners — and the testing requirements at that age — it’s no surprise that the forest kindergarten, and the passion for bringing more free play to young children during the school day, is catching on stateside. Free play and inquiry learning is also the cornerstone of Canada’s new all-day kindergarten program; forest kindergartens are popping up in Washington state, Vermont, and even Brooklyn in the US.

Forest Kindergartner

“In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.” In a scene, a group of children help cook a popcorn snack over an outdoor fire, getting close enough to the open flame to add logs and poke the fire with sticks.

The children’s play may look like messing around, don’t be fooled: Even though the young kids engage in free play, there is more going on than first appears. “So much of what is going on and the kind of play they do, symbolic play, is really pre-reading,”. “It’s a very important foundation for reading. We’ve received a lot of comments about the film that say, ‘Oh, the school looks like recess,’ and that’s a very misunderstood concept about play for kids. You’d be surprised at the importance of play.”

THE KINDERGARTEN

Scenes of rosy-faced children building forts in the mud are presented in sharp contrast to the academic (and mostly indoor) kindergarten in Canada, where a normal day is packed full of orderly activities: morning meeting, readers’ workshop, writers’ workshop, a special activity (like art, gym, and music), lunch and recess, story time, “choice” (a fancy word for play), math centers, then closing meeting.

“It’s a full day, a lot of transitions, that the gross motor skills of many of her kindergartners are underdeveloped, noting that usually means that fine motor skills are also lacking. “Developing those gross motor skills are just critical, can impact so much of later learning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjzFfU43wuQ

There’s good reason the kids are so fidgety: more and more students come to class without having enough core strength and balance to hold their bodies still long enough to learn. The core strength is only gained, from moving their bodies for hours at a time. The younger children seem to be trapped in a Catch-22 inside their own bodies: “In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.”

MORE EVIDENCE

A recent study by psychologists at the University of Colorado shows an even stronger reason for free play: children who experienced more undirected free play showed signs of stronger executive function, a strong predictor of success in school. “The more time that children spent in less-structured activities,” wrote researchers, “the better their self-directed executive functioning.”



THE TEN SUCCESS RULES TO FOLLOW.

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.

“Believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone.  I hear people say, ‘But I’m concerned about security.’  My response to that is simple: ‘Security is for cadavers.’

2. Never give up.

“Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted.  Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work.  It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.”

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think.

“There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true.  It goes like this: ‘The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.’ ”

4. Always be moving forward.

“Never stop investing.  Never stop improving.  Never stop doing something new.  The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die.  Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way.  Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen.  Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.”

5. Be quick to decide.

“Remember what General George S. Patton said: ‘A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.’ ”

6. Measure everything of significance.

“I swear this is true.  Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”

7. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.

“If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while.  I guarantee you problems will be there.”

8. Never expect life to be fair.

“Life isn’t fair.  You make your own breaks.  You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).”

9. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

“Lighten up.  Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.”

10. There’s always a reason to smile.

“Find it.  After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive.  Life is short.  ‘We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!’ ”



HOW TO BEAT STRESS

Parents and teachers have the responsibility to model behaviors and teach skills that will enable the children to be productive, accepting, healthy, and above all, resilient.

1. Self-understanding and acceptance

Self-esteem is a realistic estimate of your own capabilities and worth. People with high self-esteem are productive, responsive, imaginative, and attentive to the needs of others. Encourage your Student to develop their natural aptitudes and interests. Set them up for success. Empower them to be more responsible.

2. Adults' understanding and acceptance

Give your Students regular, focused, undivided attention. This, more than anything else, communicates your unconditional love.

3. Constructive thinking

We are what we think. Fill your language with statements that help your Student see change in a positive way, to view adversity as manageable, to persist until they are successful, and to become more oriented to the needs of others. Prepare your Student for the reality that others may not think or believe like they do. Teach your Student to identify positive and negative feelings in themselves and others. Replacing destructive thinking with constructive thinking increases self-esteem and improves coping skills.

4. Good decision-making strategies

Making a good decision requires the ability to generate alternative solutions to a problem, predict consequences, view the problem from the perspective of others, and consider how to implement alternatives to reach a solution.

Students as young as four or five can usually generate alternatives and predict consequences, but advanced decision making skills come later. Give examples of good decision making for your Student. Show Students how characters in stories make decisions. Let your Students make his own decisions whenever possible.

5. Stress-coping strategies

it’s not too early to teach Student physical relaxation exercises like breathing techniques, some forms of meditation, imagery, and muscle relaxation exercises.

Help the Students learn to recognize their own stress triggers and responses, and identify which relaxation methods work best for them. And help your kids laugh--read funny stories, watch age-appropriate comedies, and laugh at their jokes.

6. Good nutrition and exercise

Good nutrition optimizes the way your mind and body works. A well-functioning mind and healthy body increase our self-esteem and resiliency. Make aerobic exercise and recreation a part of their daily activities. If your Students see you exercise, they are more likely to take it up themselves and develop a lifelong positive habit.

7. A sense of purpose and commitment to personal and social goals

Commitment to goals gives meaning and value to life, and a reason for existence. Students should have more than one goal, and their goals should be realistic. Teach them to be flexible in how they achieve their goals, and help them learn persistence when progress is slow.

8. Social skills and social supports

Healthy relationships build self-esteem and protect from the negative effects of stress. Help your Students to build self-awareness skills and to see situations from another's point of view. Teach them to positively manage conflict and disagreement.




Tips for Improving Memory and Concentration

Concentration and memory work together but one does not lead to the other.
What is concentration?
To concentrate is to direct your mental powers or your efforts towards a particular activity, subject or problem.
What is Memory?
Memory is the ability to remember information, experiences and people. There are some specific skills that can be learned to enhance both concentration and memory. Practicing these skills is likely to improve one's success as a student.
How to create conditions for better concentration
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS
Learn main ideas, then details
Example:

*  Preview chapters before going to class.

*  Preview the chapter to gain an understanding of the topics.

*  Make the information relevant

Example:
Try to make connections and associations between what you are learning in class and your everyday life.
IMPROVE MEMORY BY MAKING IT PHYSICAL
Use your body and your senses to learn information
It has been said that "people remember 90 percent of what they do, 75 percent of what they see, and 20 percent of what they hear
Example:
Learning actively can involve your whole body which puts energy into the study process. You can stand up and talk aloud as you study, using your arms, legs, eyes, ears and voice. Relax
Example:
Remembering information after the exam is finished is not uncommon. This may suggest that you were not relaxed during the test. When you are relaxed more blood flows to the brain which enables us to perform more effectively and efficiently.
Use visualization
Example:
The more visual you can make the learning process, the easier it will be to recall the information. Be creative and use your imagination.
IMPROVE MEMORY BY MAKING IT COGNITIVE
Over learn the material
Example:
Short-term memory is not very effective in test situations due to a limited storage capacity and an inability to function effectively under stress. However, our long-term memory has an unlimited capacity and is more reliable in stressful situations. The process of moving information from short-term to long-term memory requires time, energy, understanding and repetition. Studying material multiple times using different study techniques and varying the order in which you study is an effective way to enhance your ability to store and recall information.
Have a positive attitude about learning
Example:
If you find a subject boring or uninteresting, it will be harder to learn. Try to have a positive attitude about what you are learning because it will enhance your ability to recall the information.
Use multiple learning techniques
Example:
Use a variety of study techniques to learn the material which may include doing the problem, talking yourself through the problem to develop understanding, and then reviewing the process with a friend.
TIME FOR RECALL
Review the material regularly
Example:
Varying your review methods will improve your performance. Types of reviewing methods include reviewing notes silently, reading them aloud and listening to yourself, writing down main points from your notes, creating ways to apply the information, testing yourself on your notes and teaching the information to a friend.
If you are unable to recall something, brainstorm
Example:
Not being able to recall information is a part of the learning process. Creating connections between the information you are trying to learn and the information you already know through brainstorming will increase your chances of remembering.