Sixth Grade Study Strategies – Learning How to Learn
Posted September 18, 2012
Sixth grade students at The Hun Middle School met during fifth period on Tuesday, September 11th for their first section of study strategies. The marking-period long course and the coordinated sixth grade-curriculum at The Hun School introduces students to important learning skills for their development and future success.
Director of Academic Support Services Diane Fisher’s curriculum explores topics such as organization, time management, memory techniques, test-taking strategies, listening skills, note-taking, and goal setting with sixth graders.
“Elementary-level education tends to favor content-based learning. As students enter the Middle School, their meta-cognitive abilities and habits are rapidly developing. It is important to begin a Middle School student’s education with a class that teaches them how to learn,” said Ms. Fisher.
“The first thing that I emphasize with students is time management and organization skills,” said Ms. Fisher. “The demands of a Hun Middle School education, puts the responsibility for work on the shoulders of the student. They are supported, but given a greater amount of independence. Having them organized in a way in which they can personally operate effectively, and having them budget their time wisely is a big step toward academic responsibility and independence.”
The study strategies coursework is complemented by the collective philosophy of the sixth grade faculty. They work hard to foster independence at a critical age. Language Arts teacher Amy Kolman explains why in-class projects are an important part of the first semester. “Sixth grade parents can be just as nervous as the sixth grade students in a new school. They want their children to perform well early and it can be tempting to offer a lot of guidance at home. This inhibits the teacher’s assessment and can stunt a student’s confidence and academic autonomy. For this reason, most of the sixth grade teachers assign early in-class projects. We have to let them work on their own, so they can work on their own.”
“This is also important for their creativity,” Ms. Kolman explains. “Students, who receive too much guidance at this age, may lack creative problem skills down the road. Yet, those who are permitted to find their own way will often thrive in this area.”
In addition to imparting skills that would serve any student, Ms. Fisher also designed the curriculum to teach students to assess their own learning tendencies, strengths, and challenges. This course gives students options for study skills. Not everyone learns the same way. What we are trying to do is create awareness in our students, so that they understand their own strengths. We want them to know which study habits work for them, and to harness that awareness as a powerful tool.”