Dear Academic Approach Families & Colleagues:
Over the years, we’ve been impressed by the achievements of so many of our students, and we’ve reflected on what key habits are correlated with their success.
As we approach spring exams and summer schedules, we want to identify three habits of successful students that are especially relevant this time of the year:
When a student is passionate about pursuing long-term goals, it provides context—a Why?—for learning. Help your student establish a long-term context for learning: “If I work hard in my high school classes, I could end up getting into a program that trains me to do A, B, C, so I can make an impact on X, Y, Z.” If academic achievement becomes a means to a motivating end, students invest more persistence and patience in the learning process. Students who set and pursue goals are happier and more likely to persist in setting more ambitious goals in the future.
Anticipating Obstacles & Planning
Students who forecast and plan—clearly anticipating challenges—are much more likely to navigate obstacles successfully. Research on patients preparing for medical procedures can shed light on how careful, clear anticipation helps minimize anxiety in the face of challenges: patients who were warned before an unpleasant medical procedure about what would happen and how much it would hurt found that the warning significantly reduced their actual discomfort during the procedure. Think ahead to final exams or next year’s coursework. “How will I space out preparation, given the time I have, the effort required, and the scope of the challenges I face? If my spring is busy with extracurriculars, I’ll feel stressed by trying to do too much at once, and prepping earlier for finals will be necessary. If my fall is filled with commitments, preparing for difficult courses during the summer would be smart.” Students who identify challenges and their impact in advance will find them less difficult to overcome when they inevitably occur.
Cultivating Positive Habits & Mindset
The end of a school year presents an opportunity for reflection and establishing new goals:
Cultivate a positive mindset intentionally. When report cards, spring MAP scores, or other test scores are returned, take time to analyze, explain the results, and identify next steps to make improvements. The stories students tell themselves about their performances are critical to their self-image and self-esteem as learners: these stories affect both their mood and performance. Telling stories in a positive language of growth mindset can build positivity about and persistence in learning.
Build simple, consistent routines. Summer, too often, leads to the relaxation of rigor—school is out and so too are habits and structure. Rigorous work engaging in academics skills both limits summer learning loss and develops working memory, so students return to school in the fall well-prepared for more advanced courses.
We’re happy to share other key tips and resources. Feel free to give us a call at 773-348-8914 or get in touch by filling out our contact form.