How children can study smarter
Improving your child's school grades is easy!
When parents ask me to coach their teenagers, they inevitably want their child’s school grades to improve and seem a little shocked when I say, “Yes, that’s easy.”
Like Susan, who sent her 13-year-old to me. Grace was doing OK at school; however her parents wanted to get her into a different school and to do that her grades needed to improve. Grace was enrolled in one of my tutoring programmes and by the end of the programme her predicted C grades had become A and B, with a 100% pass rate in science, a previously disliked subject.
How did we improve this teenagers results?
The answer is to know your child’s memory style. When you do, you can help them to help themselves. Coupled with understanding what motivates them, what drives them and their perspective of the world, you can motivate any teenager to improve their school work.
Memory style is the way in which you remember information most easily. Knowing this can make studying much easier. It is the way we take in and memorize information.
Children remember in four ways
These people learn mostly by reading and writing; this is predominately the style taught at school. When studying, they read and make lots of notes. This style is known as verbal memory.
These people learn most by hearing something spoken to them. In class they are likely to enjoy discussion where people are talking and get bored when there is writing to be done. When studying they may read and talk out loud or record themselves and listen at a later date. They will also ask others to question them, so they can speak their answers. This style is knows as tonal memory.
These people learn by movement in some way. These will be the students constantly fidgeting at school; they cannot sit still. In studying they are likely to walk around and make up rhythmic songs and poems. These students may benefit from studying with either the TV or radio on and also may hum or sing while they are studying. This style is known as rhythm memory.
These people learn by seeing pictures, tables or graphs. When studying, they are likely to draw pictures and put information into tables and boxes, they also will enjoy using mind maps. This style is known as design memory.
4 ways to help your teenage child study
- Think of a time that your child was studying recently and the methods that they used.
- Which one of these four do you think they are and why?
- Ask your teen and see if you are right.
- Write a list of five ways you can support your teenager’s learning style, now that you have discovered what it is. For example, telling your child to switch off the TV while studying may not be the right things to do, depending on their learning style.
So, if we go back to Grace, she was typical in that her Mum made her do her homework in a room all by herself with no noise. Grace found this very hard and as we worked together, we found that she was very high in rhythm memory. So we began to do things like introduce a radio into the room where she was studying, studying while walking around the room and making up songs and poems. The results were incredible. As for the science exam, she made up a song about the valency table while playing the guitar at the same time — it worked a treat and is just what someone with high rhythm/doing memory needs. I should know, as this is my greatest learning style. When I was in the police, I learned every piece of legislation to a song and I can tell you, it took me all my might not to sing the charges to someone as I was arresting them! In fact if you asked me now, I could still sing the Theft Act to you.
You play it, I’ll sing it!
Guest expert: Sarah Newton
Sarah is an author, speaker, consultant, creator of teenology and media expert and has shared her wisdom with millions through her TV and radio shows, writing and thought provoking talks. Sarah was hailed "The Supernanny for Teens" by TV Times.