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Being an effective student isn't usually something that comes down to chance. In the majority of circumstances, it is the individual learner who can have the largest impact on the effectiveness of their studies. In this article, we take a look at some of the most important traits and techniques that can help people to reach their full potential as a learner.
Perhaps the most important trait of all amongst effective learners is the ability to set realistic and achievable goals, before working hard to reach these over a set period of time. Having something to work towards can provide students with a great deal of motivation to succeed, and this is vital to keep them engaged in their studies.
One of the best ways to go about goal setting is through assigning two types of objectives: short and long term. In terms of shorter goals, teachers may give students a set of tasks to complete during one lesson - for example, 'The lesson aim today is for you to complete these two addition worksheets before the bell'. In the longer term, however, teachers should work alongside students to set personal targets for over the next term. The most effective students have the ability to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and this should enable them to create challenging but achievable targets for themselves.
Another common habit which successful students typically possess is the capacity to involve themselves in all types of activities, displaying a genuine desire to learn and do well. Not only does a more hands-on approach make learning more enjoyable, but it also increases knowledge retention and application. Those who stay focused and put 100% effort into every exercise are normally the highest achievers.
Balance is yet another vital trait - albeit a less obvious one - amongst effective pupils. Some people think that those who work constantly and put themselves under a great degree of pressure are naturally the ones who are most successful. Despite this preconception, this isn't always the case. The reality is that those who find a good balance between work and rest are the ones who extract the greatest range of benefits from their studies.
This idea is based upon the fact that it's important to give the brain a break from time to time - similar to sleeping at night to rest your body. Working intensively can contribute to the buildup of stress, and also results in you getting your facts confused - which, realistically, is the last thing you want to happen when trying to learn. Bearing this in mind, a healthier approach to studying would be to plan out what you will do -for instance, 'I'm going to spend half an hour revising my multiplication table and then go for a walk to unwind'.
The above are just a handful of the most important habits that the most highly effective learners share. Self-belief, tenacity and determination are equally essential, and together, all of these traits and techniques can help students in reaching their full potentials as both people and learners.