Monthly Archives: September 2011

Developing Good Study Habits

I repeatedly see students exhibiting poor study habits.  Mainly I see students with a book propped up in front of them; propelled by the idea that reading is sufficient to pass their exams.  They spend hours with the textbook, hoping that something will absorb into the brain.

There are many online articles that give good studying tips but there is nothing like repetition to help develop good study habits.  Therefore, each week I will post a different tip on how to develop good study habits.

Tip # 1:                  Get Your Rest, Nourishment and Exercise

If you plan on ‘burning the midnight oil’ and studying all night, forget it.  Study when your body and mind are rested.  A student needs 8 hours of sleep per night.  You might be able to stretch it to 6 hours, but our minds are not alert when we are short on sleep.  Having said that; too much sleep is not good for you either.  If we sleep too much, our minds become sluggish and dull.  Plan to get up at a reasonable time in the morning like 6 or 7 AM, have a light breakfast and then start to study.  If you are in school during the mornings, try to study in the early afternoon.  Try not to study too late at night when you are ‘brain dead’.

A balanced diet is also important during study time.  Although the average person will burn only about 45 calories per hour while studying, being stationary at a desk does not mean you should not eat.  Limit the amount of ‘junk food’ you consume and eat meals that include fruits (juices), vegetables, bread products, some meat and milk products.  Limit the intake of carbonated drinks and coffee.  Yes, coffee does keep you awake, but you need to balance that with nourishing meals.  You may even want to have smaller more frequent meals with a fruit or vegetable snack in between meals.  This will keep your energy level high.

Don’t forget to exercise.  Studies show that exercise increases the oxygen and blood flow to your brain.  Exercise also produces chemicals in the brain that help with cognition. When we have enough oxygen flowing to our brain we are better able to concentrate, memorize, plan and problem solve.  To achieve high academic scores we need to concentrate, memorize, plan and problem solve.  Do you want good grades?  Then exercise.

So what do you need to get good grades?

1)      Rest so your mind is sharp and able to concentrate on the subject at hand

2)      A proper diet so your energy levels remain high

3)      Exercise so you get enough oxygen to your brain

English Word Riddle

Work out each letter of a useful word from the following riddle.  It’s a word that means something everyone needs.

My first letter is in WINDPIPE and also in WOMB.
My second’s in HEART and also in BACK.
My third’s in FEET and also in THROAT.
My fourth’s in ELBOW and also in EAR.
My last’s in RIB and also in ARTERY.

Improving on Your Spoken English Skills

With the growing demand for English language training, online Spoken English programs have mushroomed as an answer to this demand.  There are some drawbacks to effective English language learning with this approach.

How do we learn our native tongue?  We learn the language in a social-cultural context.  That means that we learn it from our parents, siblings, other close family members and from our neighbors.  By the time we go to school we know how to speak and we have a large vocabulary base.  Before children go to school they have learned to speak in their native language.  If some children grow up in a multilingual environment, they may speak at least two languages without ever opening a textbook.

Researchers have conducted studies to learn how an infant learns language.  One study monitored infants who were exposed to language while in the presence of a human being.  Other infants were exposed to language through media, such as a television, but there was no other human being present.  The results drew the conclusion that the infants who had human contact and interaction learned more language than the infants who were only exposed to electronic media.  From this research it would seem that there is a necessity for effective language acquisition to take place within an environment of human interaction.

The use of the audio-lingual method (i.e.: online spoken English courses) to learn English as a second language cannot take into account the full array of non-verbal communication.  The other drawback is that the creative spontaneity in spoken English is curtailed and can be limited to programmed mechanics.

Learning spoken English is best learned in a social context, such as a class where communicative materials, tools and methods are used.  Students need real-life situations and problems to discuss and resolve.  In a classroom setting, through interactive role-playing, simulations, discussions and etc. the spoken English language learner can develop a good command of the English language.

The Importance of Asking Questions in the Classroom

The adage goes “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers”.  How true this is in the classroom.  When the teacher asks, “Does anyone have any questions,” she/he is expecting questions and even welcomes them.  The teacher expects the students to ask questions so they can have a better understanding about points that are not yet clear.

Many students hold back from asking questions.  They are afraid that their question might be conceived as silly or worse yet; their peers and even the teacher might think they are unintelligent.  But the truth of the matter is that the very question you want to ask, is most probably the same question your peers want to ask but are afraid to ask.

So ask questions.  You are in the classroom to learn.  The teacher is there for your learning betterment.  She/he is there to help you.  If you ask questions you will learn.  You will get the answers you need.  You will have the necessary understanding you need about the subject matter.

The intelligent student asks questions.  It is okay to ask questions.