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How to Organize & Motivate Students for Success

Here are two great benefits from one simple strategy!

Sometimes, simplicity is difficult to comprehend. For some reason, we naturally make things more complicated than necessary. Nowhere is that more evident than in school.

We were raised to believe that learning is “hard work” and that being a good student means hours of labor. We have passed that notion on to our students. As a result we often believe that many of our students would “get it” if they just tried harder.

However, the idea that learning has to be to a lot of dreadful labor does a lot of damage.

First, it causes students to associate learning with negative feelings. With our natural curiosity and ability to learn, we should be celebrating opportunities to learn! Instead, we think of learning as painful and boring. This makes us educators feel as if we are fighting a constant uphill battle. Well, we are!

Second, it is a false premise. No one likes to fail. Nearly every student enters school with a natural desire to succeed and feel good about themselves. They start out wanting to try their best. However, when students who struggle are told that they just need to “try harder,” they get confused; they are already trying hard and it isn’t working. They don’t know how to try harder. Eventually they find it easier to stop trying than to face repeated failures and confusion. This is when they get labeled as “lazy” and are made to feel as if there is something inherently wrong with them.

Finally, it destroys students’ quality of life. Students spend 13+ years of their life in school, believing that it all has to be a chore. I believe in the merits of hard work, but “hard work” shouldn’t be synonymous with “misery.” We accept it as normal, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

It would make our jobs a heck of a lot easier if it weren’t that way!

To be honest, I haven’t discovered 90% of my options for simplifying my life. But I do know how to simplify learning, making school less of a chore for my students, and making my job as a teacher quite a bit easier

I “accidentally” discovered study skills in college and they transformed my life! I started out struggling all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade. Once I learned how to learn, I easily earned a 3.9 GPA in college. Since then, I have spent over 20 years studying the brain and the processes for learning. The following is one of many great “shortcuts” I have discovered.


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