How many times have you sat at your desk marking your students tests only to think, “Geez, did they study at all?”.
I know this feeling well, so I went in search of videos to show students examples of study skills. Because for whatever reason, my explanations of how to study were just NOT WORKING.
And, with the growth of digital and distance learning at the moment, as well as asynchronous learning, using videos is a great way to ensure you are catering to students both inside and outside the classroom.
Best of all, these videos are free. Not a penny and all on YouTube.
Thomas Frank, 13 Essential, Science-backed study tips
This 13-minute study skills video does as its name suggests – giving viewers thirteen tips for studying effectively.
If you’ve seen any of the CrashCourse Study Skills videos, you’ll be familiar with both Thomas Frank (who presented) and some of the tips outlined in this video.
The first main study skill that Thomas Frank suggests in this video is spaced repetition. This study skill has the strongest evidence for information retention, and Frank shows two different examples of how to use this study skill.
- Using websites such as Anki, Quizlet, and Tinycards to create digital flashcards that the website automatically spaces out during practice
- Using index cards as the Leitner System of spaced learning
Another study skill example that Thomas Frank shows in this video is to study in short, concentrated bursts. Frank then suggests using the Pomodoro technique and setting a timer for a study session. He also gives examples of how to use the study skill tip using websites such as tomato timer.
Study tips not included in the CrashCourse videos include:
- try easier problems when you get stuck on difficult problems, as the difficulty often comes from the combination of concepts
- using mnemonics such as rhymes, acronyms, stories or songs to remember information
- interleaving: switching between types of problems and concepts (to prevent wasting time by ‘overlearning’ one concept or problem)
- going for a walk after a long study session so your brain can use both focused (while studying) and diffused (while walking) modes of thinking
- do a few review sessions in a group AND individually
- use study sounds that work for you
- protect your sleep as your brain can’t encode memories when you are sleep deprived
John Fish, How I Study
John Fish is a second-year Harvard student who started his YouTube channel in high school. He shares how he studied to get into Harvard/
This 9-minute study tips video may resonate with your students because the presenter is so young.
John Fish’s tips boil down to three main ideas: right body and right mind, right environment, and right work.
- Right body and right mind: as a part of your body, you need to take care of your body to take care of your mind. Basically, eat well, do a small amount of exercise to maintain mental clarity, and get enough sleep.
- Right environment: study in the same spot with the same ‘cues’. His study skills example of a ‘cue’ are studying at his desk with a cup of tea playing his study sounds.
- Right work: be efficient with your time and focused with your energy (using the Pomodoro technique), set goals for study sessions and keep track of what you need to do, and prioritize your work.
Scott Bruckner, Organizing Your Study Time
Part of a long series of free study skills videos uploaded by academic learning instructor Scott Brukner from Long Beach City College, these two videos are about organizing study time effectively.
My husband is currently studying and he recommended these videos.
He was so frustrated, that (in his words), ‘I’ve done three university degrees, and nobody ever taught me how to study’. Until he found these videos, that is.
Both free study skills videos are over 45 minutes long, so they will not be suitable for every class. The videos are targeted at college- or university-level students so would be most useful for older students aiming for college or university.
Throughout the videos he gives examples of study skills such as organizing your study time effectively.
He demonstrates using a calendar and timetable to block off times unavailable to study due to work commitments, family commitments, and sporting commitments.
Then, he shows students how to create a study plan for the times that students have available to study.
These videos have excellent reviews. Reviewers suggested that they were the most useful classes/videos they had taken their entire college career.
The study tips are not ground-breaking and cover much of the content of previous videos. But they are comprehensive and detailed.
How can I find the time to teach study skills on top of a crowded curriculum?
IA great way to teach study skills and show students examples of how to study effectively is to show videos.
This post has several excellent videos to start with, but others include the CrashCourse Study Skills videos, available free on YouTube.
CrashCourse also has some Study Hall videos dealing with written composition.
This series is also great if you teach rhetoric, editing, quoting and citing, and critical thinking and developing arguments. But these videos are most suited to university- or college-bound students.
How can I use this knowledge in my classroom?
So, you’re convinced, you want to teach study skills in your classroom, but you’re not sure how to start.
The list below gives some examples of ways you can implement this in your classroom or help students apply it in their lives:
- Give pop quizzes that periodically review material so students are forced to try and recall ‘forgotten’ information
- Model how to create a study calendar for students and then give them class time to plan their own
- Get students to create flashcards of questions/answers on index cards as exit tickets and then periodically hand them out and make them answer 5 before they can leave class/go to the bathroom/instead of homework that night etc.
- Get students to explain a concept as if they were teaching it to their baby brother or sister
- Model the technique of elaboration by having class discussions and/or mind-mapping
- Get students to create visual notes
Want more examples of study skills to teach your middle or high school students?
Check out these blog posts and websites:
- Two excellent blog posts by Cult of Pedagogy about research-baked study skills are: 6 powerful learning strategies and 4 research-backed strategies every teacher should be using
- Check out my blog posts: 9 essential study skills students should be using (and teachers should be teaching), teaching students to take effective notes (using the Cornell method, the outline method, the mind-mapping method, or visual notes, as well as note-taking tools for distance learning)
- Two cognitive psychological scientists created the The Learning Scientists website which publishes infographics, videos, and podcasts about how to learn