By Meaghan Montrose
This is the first in a series of posts on this topic. These strategies are useful for parents, tutors, and students.
The first and most important thing to learning effectively is to have an appropriate learning environment. The setting in which you are studying can make or break your success. There are six factors to consider when establishing the best environment:
1. Location- The ideal place to learn is in an area of your home that is away from the noise and traffic of the other members of the household. This will vary from person to person. For some, the kitchen table may be the best place, but for others the kitchen might be an area where brothers and sisters often hang out or maybe it is right next to the main entrance of the house. In these cases, the constant distractions would make the kitchen a bad location.
2. Seating- To be most effective, you should be seated at a table or desk with a comfortable chair. Of course you don’t want the chair so comfortable that you fall asleep! It is easier to concentrate on your work when you are properly seated. Lying down or sitting on the floor quickly become uncomfortable positions and cause you to lose your concentration and shift around more often.
3. Comfort- The best environment contains just the right amount of comfort. Think of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. You want to be comfortable enough so that you are not distracted by anything, but you don’t want to be so comfortable that you end up in a relaxing trance. Make sure the temperature is not too hot or too cold, change into comfortable clothes, have a drink nearby and eat a small snack before starting.
4. Distractions- Remove all distractions from your study area. Turn off email, cell phone, television, and radio. Close the curtains to any windows to eliminate being side-tracked by outside activities. Clear off your work area so there is nothing to draw your attention away such as magazines, books, or games.
5. Materials- After you start, you don’t want to have to get up every couple of minutes because you forgot something. Make sure you have all of your supplies ready and handy. This may include pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, paper, ruler, calculator, notebook, textbook, etc.
6. Timing- For many students, studying or doing homework immediately after school is not the best option. Having just finished several hours of learning at school, it is time for a little break. Give yourself some wind-down time before beginning. You may want to have a snack, watch T.V., talk to a friend, do something fun outside before it gets dark, or clean your room!
The most important factor to learning effectively and efficiently is to have the correct environment. Follow these six guidelines to create the perfect setting for success. Now, you are ready to study effectively!