Before starting to teach, I was a student for the usual amount of time. And I’m not going to lie, I was never a great student. Now that I’ve been teaching for 4 years, I’m back in school for a Masters and certification. And I’m still not a great student. It all boils down to one weakness — poor study skills.

Except for a brief time in engineering school, I just never needed ’em.

Here I am now, experiencing my graduate program as if I were one of my own students, sitting in my classroom. I’m struggling with the material and I know that regular studying would improve my understanding.

That’s why study skills is (are?) at the top of my list.

How can I instill strong study skills in the students I teach? Especially given it’s a particular area of weakness for me. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Have high expectations — the students will work to rise to them.  But how do I walk that fine line between frustrating the students and giving them a challenge just hard enough?
  • Assign work that’s intriguing. Last week, I was asked to solve a version of the Cordial Dinner Party problem (restated in venture capitalist terms here). It hooked me and I spent a long time working it out.
  • Be clear and specific about what’s on the test. Knowing what to study helps me split the work into chunks, so that studying doesn’t seem so intimidating. I find that I won’t get started if the mass of work is too large.
  • Provide review time in class.

Can you help me add to my list?

Disclaimer: This post written while I was supposed to be studying for a math test. The problem pictured is a small part of the material I’m working on.