In our last post, we talked about some of the study skills that are so crucial for 21st century students. Today, we want to ask an important second question: how do students actually improve their 21st century study skills?
This tends to fall into the category of “easier than it sounds.” It’s a bit like my Baylor Bears football team. If you’re familiar with Baylor, we’re doing well right now in football. But, when I was at Baylor (and for multiple decades), that wasn’t the case. I had a front row seat to teams putting 60+ points on us… and our beloved team scoring a big, fat “0”. (Even if you hate sports, surely you can understand that isn’t a good score.)
Now imagine if during the halftime speech of one of those 63-0 blowouts, the coach had just said something to the effect of, “PLAY BETTER!!”
Sure, that much is clear. But HOW do you actually do this? The same question hits us with study skills — sure, we need to study better, but HOW? Check out these 4 tips for a starting point on how students can improve their 21st century study skills.
1. Focus on building Organization Skills
Organization isn’t everything. But it’s pretty important. We like the analogy of the ski lift. Does a ski lift help you ski? No. But it can help you get to skiing a lot faster.
Organization doesn’t help a student learn more, but it helps eliminate all the junk that keeps them from learning more. Students, if you’re in need of some organization skills, invest the time to work on them.
2. Focus on building Academic Skills
By “academic skills” we mean the actual study skills themselves. How do you learn? What are you doing in class? When some information hits you in the face, does it stick? You know, that kind of stuff. Find an area to work on, and then do it.
3. Focus on building your intrinsic motivation
Students, your parents can’t succeed for you. They also aren’t the ones who will ultimately have to experience the results of your academic success… or your missed opportunities.
If you don’t know where to start, try thinking through what you really want out of life. No one is going to get it for you. No one is going to make you earn it. But — if you know for what you want your life to count — you have all the opportunity you need in your education.
4. Focus on one skill at a time
Let’s not get crazy here. Don’t think we’re asking you to drop everything and change your entire life. Just pick one area. Invest a little each day. In the long run, you’ll find it’s worth it.
As a side-note, here’s a short video that will explain why we recommend students focus on these areas.