The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 16, 2013

Academic anti-resolutions to make for 2013

By Marianne Bright for the SNAP

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 — While the New Year of 2013 is not quite so new, the academic “new year” (second semester) for most local students will begin soon. The tradition, of course, is to make New Year’s resolutions related to various areas of our lives.

However, academic resolutions are not usually high on the list for many students. We adults don’t set much of an example. Since the beginning of time, we have been making and breaking New Year’s resolutions.

Our well-intended resolutions often don’t work because changing deeply ingrained habits is never easy, even for the most determined among us.

So if you want to secure a successful change in your student this year, particularly with regards to academic performance, try a new tactic:  the “anti” resolution.

By saying no, students can create some new, positive academic habits. Allow your student to brainstorm a few things he or she will not do, in the pursuit of a more positive school experience.  

Although having your student choose two or three things that are measurable and achievable is a good idea, here are 10 anti-resolution suggestions to get your student paving a path toward better academic results in 2013:

1. I will not start studying the night before a test. Procrastination is one of the biggest grade-killers. Child-ren who get into the habit of studying earlier — or tackling a school project well ahead of its due date and breaking it down into manageable steps — will get the higher scores they were capable of achieving all along.

2. I will not tune out in math class. For many students, all-important math and algebra classes are the biggest challenge. Simply paying attention can pay dividends.

3. I will not be afraid to raise my hand in class. This is a big one. Asking questions is a key part of learning. A teacher’s answer to a single question may clarify a student’s understanding of an entire lesson.

4. I will not play video games before I do my homework. Today’s children have an almost limitless variety of electronic diversions that can lure them away from schoolwork. Students need to get into the habit of making sure that schoolwork takes precedence.

5. I will not miss out on reading for 20 minutes every day. Children cannot improve reading skills or develop a love of reading if they don’t do it regularly. Twenty minutes per day is the bare minimum.

6. I will not participate in social media during every spare minute. As useful and entertaining as Facebook and Twitter can be, they also can be constant sources of interruption during academic tasks, both in and out of class.

7. I will not talk in class when I should be listening. Teachers often hear students offer the excuse, “I guess I didn’t hear it.” Students need to realize that the teacher’s job is to instruct; the student’s job is to pay attention.

8. I will not forget to write down my assignments. A student can’t do homework he or she doesn’t remember. Frantic last-minute calls to classmates for homework assignments waste time and demonstrate a lack of discipline.

9. I will mot sit in the back of class. Sitting closer to the front of the class encourages participation and shows the teacher you’re interested.

10. I will not forget how important school is to my future. The daily routine of school may blunt a student’s perception of just how important academics are in the grand scheme of things. Children should remain aware that how well they do in school really matters.

There you have it — 10 things for students not to do in 2013.