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Many of our adult learners haven’t developed effective study habits, and yet, we know a student’s ability to study largely determines his or her educational success. So how do we get our students to develop effective study habits?


The Class Conversation

Start by asking students about their study habits.   You may be surprised by their answers.  I often find out that students don’t study at all outside of class.


·         What do you study?

·         Where do you study?

·         When do you study? How long do you study? How often do you study?



Incorporate Effective Study Techniques in Your Class

Over the course of the first few weeks, address these study essentials in class.


Know Your Resources

Class is the best place for our students to learn how to use their study resources.  Take some time to engage students in the following activities:

·         Using flashcards

·         Maintaining a vocabulary list

·         Locating and using the audio scripts and answer keys

·         Cueing and playing audio segments

·         Reviewing class notes


I do. We do. You do.

Often students don’t understand their homework assignments. Spend a few minutes on the assignment. Model it and then do one or two items together before they leave class to do it on their own.


Get Organized

Make sure every student has a study kit – otherwise known as a book bag.  Reusable grocery bags (99 cents) are great for carrying a textbook, note-book, translator, flashcards, pencils, and erasers: everything a student needs to seize the moment and study.


Timing is Everything

Acknowledge the extraordinary demands of your students’ lives.  They may never secure an uninterrupted hour to sit and study.  Remind them:

·         Frequency is more important than duration.

·         Study every day.

·         20 minutes a day is better than two hours once a week.


Location!  Location!

Not everyone needs quiet to study, but everyone needs good lighting, a study kit, and a little protection from interruption.  Ask students to identify places they can be free from interruption for 20 minutes.  Maybe it is in the classroom before class, or in a break room after the shift ends, or on a bus on the way to work; or in a parked car. 


Love Your Brain

There are three essentials to a functioning mind: water, glucose, and blood flow. 

·         The 3-Minute Stretch:  In the middle of class, take 3 minutes for everyone to stretch and move a bit. When students settle back into their chairs they usually notice how much more alert they feel.

·         Drink water and encourage students to bring water to class. 

·         Provide snacks now and then.  Point out which what kinds of snacks help the brain (complex carbs and nuts).