Teachers face challenges today that no generation before them has had to address. Thanks to advances in technology, students have limitless resources at their fingertips. For example, they can find the answer to any question by asking their smartphone. However, the procedures used to get the perfect answers are mind-numbing. They often require little thought and no problem-solving techniques.
This puts teachers in a difficult situation. While you would like to take your students to the next level of learning, and their work level indicates that it is possible, you often find that the only thing the student has learned is how to use a search engine.
In order to teach students real-life problem-solving skills, you must sometimes restrict the very tools that could help them.
Where to Begin
In order to teach students to develop the tools they need to succeed in their classwork, homework, and life in general, they must learn a few simple steps. These steps are applied to everything they do. When you teach your students to look at each assignment through the guidelines of these steps, they will complete their work. They are:
- Prepare for the work ahead.
- Collect needed supplies.
- Focus on the job at hand until it is complete.
- Incorporate focus strategies used in programs like Phyzzle that help children learn how to focus on homework using super-efficient organization techniques.
- Get the job done. Students are taught to stay with the assignment until it is finished and their materials are put away.
Make It Easy on Yourself and Parents
Teaching a child to be organized takes a little effort. Unfortunately, in the early stages, much of the effort falls on the teacher. This is where the use of technology is helpful.
- Set up an online assignment calendar. Be specific and spell out exactly what is required. You can let the students help determine what tools they will need to complete an assignment. Be sure to send home notices to the parents advising where assignments are posted.
- Ask parents if they would like to be included in group texts, reminding them of activities and deadlines.
Make a Homework Kit
So much time is wasted by students searching for a pencil, paper, worksheets, and assignment list. Younger students can be trained to avoid this problem. Using a large ziplock bag, help them make a homework kit. The kit always contains pencil, paper, and other items they need. During the work week (or day) homework sheets are placed in the bag along with any reading assignments. The bag then goes home with the student at the end of the day.
Before a student begins their homework, they should take five minutes to review what they need to do. They can use this time to organize their work and what they plan to accomplish. How they organize it, is up to them. The key is to be ready to complete their homework in one sitting.
Technology is a wonderful education tool when used properly. When abused, students can turn it into a mind-numbing, fact-finding exercise. Let your students help you keep your class-site current. Have a way for the kids to ask questions of their peers and of their instructors, and team students up as accountability partners.
Students will flourish if they work together with their teachers, parents, and technology. At the end of the day, they learn how to succeed in school, and in life.
This is a guest blog by Ashley Lipman. Lipman is a lover of psychology whose interests range from the corporate world to self-improvement and self-care to education. Now if only someone came up with a way to extend the day by about 20 more hours, she could dedicate herself to all of these equally and constantly.