Three common scenarios where STUDEAM can offer something new
This is the second part of a previous post with tips for parents on how to use the study planner STUDEAM (SEE HERE). An app cannot be educational on its own, so it is important to understand how to use it properly to boost strong study habits. In this post, I am going to introduce three problematic scenarios that may sound familiar to you. They are paradigmatic situations with students that can sometimes be intermingled.
Of course, there are many students who do not have great difficulties when it comes to the habit of studying, but who can also benefit and improve by using the app. And while STUDEAM helps support problem cases, I think it will also help what we might call “non-problematic” situations. Once more, before going ahead, if you need to refresh how this study planner is, you might find useful to review the video tutorial.
1. Students who are poorly organized and always leave everything for the last minute.
In my 12 years as a high school teacher and tutor, this is the norm. My impression is that poor organization is compatible, for example, with gifted students. It is not a matter of intelligence, that’s why I am using this example of students who are gifted. Of course, with ADHD or other learning disorders it may be more difficult.
I’ve seen too many smart kids who don’t grow up in the habit of work because they are focused on their own world. Everything else can wait and they end up moving forward “as usual.” It is not uncommon that the confidence they feel that they will finish the tasks at the last minute begins to betray those students little by little, especially as the complexity of the tasks grows, and therefore their grades can give them nasty surprises.
The worst thing is not that they receive an improper evaluation of their ability, but that they are not growing in the habit of studying. Again, gifted students can build complicated games using Java or gobble up thousands of articles on their favourite topics, but almost always based on their personal interests, forgetting the necessary development of other fundamental skills, crucial for personal and professional life.
Will those who are “disorganized” want to use STUDEAM?
Maybe after a bad experience, after last minute stresses or unusually low grades, they will be more receptive and give it a try. Then the application can influence them positively because it will make it harder for them to fool themselves. Faced with a plan in sight, they must decide whether or not to follow it, but fooling themselves will not be easy anymore. It is an opportunity to discover that doing tasks when you should, does not mean working harder, but better and with more peace of mind. It is something that should translate into better results. They put their likes or dislikes, their fears and laziness aside to gain time and quality of learning, which makes up for it.
Several aspects of the app will help you in this direction:
- Reflection on a stable study schedule
- Constant consideration of study assignments
- Considering exam assignments as reviews
- Updating tasks that helps them become aware of how they are progressing (or stalling and accumulating work)
- The visualization of schedules that display the lack of availability of time
2. Endless afternoons, entire weekends
With some students there is this silent drama: they always have homework, and they spend many hours on it. Their responsibility makes them bury themselves in endless days. It is very sad, and we are awakened by the question of what is going wrong. Usually, their perfectionism and insecurity make them move slowly and spend much more time than these tasks deserve.
With the STUDEAM study planner, these students can have a wonderful tool to become aware of the problem and learn to set limits, task by task, session by session. They can build strong work discipline, perhaps too much, but time is not a priority for them, but the quality of the result. Growing in the habit of studying in this case will mean learning to value time more, by setting clear limits and overcoming the fear of not finishing tasks or finishing them “imperfectly”.
Where the problem lies: too much work or perfectionism?
STUDEAM can make it clear where the problem is, whether there is a real excess of tasks on behalf of the educational institution or whether the issue has to do with the perfectionism of the student. It is possible that a dialogue with a companion (parent, tutor, counsellor…) is convenient here and if you share the tool periodically you will easily “see” what is actually happening. Students usually do not lie about this and want to get better and break free, but they do not know how. You have to help them to value their time and refocus their priorities.
The companion will be able to see the number of tasks, their completion time and their study sessions. Given that there is no “parent” or “tutor” user in this application (which is planned but will not be immediate), the best way to monitor a student’s progress is by asking them to send a screenshot of their weekly plan each day and another from the general list of tasks.
On the other hand, planning is designed to make the best use of your time and may help you finish earlier. Being aware of the time limits of each task and targeting them will certainly help. Let them try!
3. Struggling with to-do lists
Finally, at these ages, many parents suffer because their children do not really work. The list of tasks can be defective (due to forgetfulness, omissions, inaccuracies … ) and, although it is close to the truth, it is not a serious work plan because they do not plan to fulfil the tasks, but for a very different reason: they may choose to spend the least possible time doing what they are bad at or do not like to do. Those tasks that they dislike or are bad at, or simply do not feel like doing are put off to the last minute or made to “disappear.” These are tasks that they consider unimportant, or very difficult or optional, or that will simply be done “better tomorrow” because there is still time to do them (procrastination).
For many parents, understanding what’s going on amidst the fog, sometimes on the basis of half-truths, is usually a test of patience. The time and energy it takes to have the correct information make it unsustainable and in the mid-term, parents may feel defeated. Even when they are informed about tasks through the school’s digital platform, it is not an easy job.
Many children are used to hearing daily reproaches that are no longer useful to make them change, or to endure arguments and discussions on account of homework. Above all, during exams and after grades. There are parents who choose to order them to spend long hours studying in their room. But this decision is sometimes ineffective, oftentimes counterproductive. I have met many kids who would rather be bored for entire afternoons than face their homework.
How can STUDEAM help in this scenario? Hopefully, we can shed a little light to reverse this bleak situation.
A pact of patience and freedom
Naturally, in this scenario, the will to use the planning app will be very small, unless we propose a situation in which the student gets something positive in return. I would try to make the following pact with them based on common sense:
They promise to be transparent with their tasks and to follow the planning of the app that STUDEAM produces, and parents, in exchange for this gesture of sincerity and transparency, will not reproach them or try to force them to do what they should be doing. Therefore, what they must be dedicating their time to at the present moment is always clear thanks to the application.
A moment for sharing and giving feedback
At the end of the day, we can ask how everything went, especially the tasks that we know they were supposed to do this afternoon. If things have gone wrong, parents should be grateful for their confession and not press the issue. Rather: “tomorrow is a new day to start again”, “if you want me to help you with something” or the most sympathetic silence possible. And when things have gone well, it is time to express shared joy and praise.
Reprimands and threats are often ineffective, while admitting the child’s truth with patience and love can transform their learning experience in a new way. Your child will end up asking for help or getting to work little by little.
Luis Javier Álvarez Garrido
High School Teacher and CEO of Task & Time