This Week’s Top Stories About Student Learning

The impact of external and internal influences on student learning has been known to vary in severity depending on the student.

When it comes to giving your child the best possible chance at success, it can be crucial to know what kind of influences they are facing and what that might mean for them.

With the constant changes in media consumption, learning techniques, and the advancement of studies on student mental health, knowing these influences can seem like a sizable challenge.

Fortunately, scientists and psychologists are hard at work to help identify these influences so that you can help your child adapt accordingly.

This week alone, various advancements have been made to aid you in giving your child the tools that they need to find their path to academic success.

According to research conducted by the University of Exeter, there seems to be a noteworthy link between when a student experiences anxiety and poor attendance at school.

From their findings, collected over eight studies in total, researchers noticed a strong connection between truancy and anxiety levels for students.

This demonstrates that students may actually be missing school for mental health reasons alone more often than might have been initially considered.

However, that does not ensure that it is easily identifiable as a cause unless you know the many ways that anxiety can manifest.

Since anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, it is possible for the true cause of these symptoms to go unnoticed.

The article states that common indicators of anxiety in children can manifest as headaches or stomach discomfort, leading parents and children to believe that the problem is a physical one rather than mental.

This can result in failure to address the source, which can lead to more frequent absences.

Student absenteeism is known for having lasting impacts on a student’s academic success.

Being absent makes it easier for students to fall behind in class, fall out of touch with their peer group (which can actually cause additional anxiety), and lead to overall confidence problems that might further impact their educational capacity.

Given the fact that anxiety is largely treatable, it is important to be educated on the signs to ensure that it doesn’t get in the way of your child’s future.

In an academic movement, the decision to include teaching the formal practice of keyboarding or touch typing as a part of a student’s academic curriculum early on is gaining traction.

Modern times guarantee that we all spend the majority of our days interacting with various forms of technology.

The practice of touch typing, which is the formal process of typing using all ten of your fingers with them designated in an appropriate pattern so that an individual does not have to look at the keyboard, has long since been touted as necessary for business success, but is now leading researchers to believe that there might be other benefits to teaching it to children.

Giving a student the ability to properly interact with the kind of technology that will likely be in their lives for the foreseeable future seems like an obvious win academically.

In addition to helping children to better understand and interact with technology, it can actually set them up for primary job requirements, such as business typing minimums that often require the ability to type a certain amount of content per minute with a high degree of accuracy.

Since this process is focused on shifting attention from the keyboard to the screen, it makes it easier to identify errors immediately rather than after the fact.

It can also be noted that touchy typing can be monumental assistance when it comes to children diagnosed with dyslexia.

By transferring the focus of writing to a physical process rather than a visual one, it gives them the ability to complete homework assignments more quickly and with greater accuracy.

While some might wonder how easy it is to get children engaged with the idea of formally typing rather than just happily tapping away as they look at the keyboard, there are several games and systems that have been designed to make the learning process one that is both fun and engaging for children of various ages.

According to current teaching professionals, children tend to really enjoy the time that they spend learning this valuable life skill that will serve them in the long run.

By increasing a child’s ability to type and type effectively, we can see impacts to their ability to complete their homework, comfort when writing papers, and general preparedness for future career options.

Although most high school age students are likely a few months shy from being ready to actually leave home and head off to college, that does not mean that they are not prepared to shoulder the academic weight of college courses.

Advance Placement (AP) classes, courses designed to help children gain college credit during their high school years, are being considered more widely relevant as each new year passes.

Alongside AP classes, we are now seeing a rise in the call for dual-enrollment options, which allow students to take some high school classes and college classes at the same time.

This can allow children to increase their knowledge base and gain several college credits before they even graduate. This is the reasoning behind a new push to increase college course integration in the high school pathway.

Utilizing these courses allows children to continue their education at a level appropriate to keep them engaged while also giving them the chance to save money when it comes to investing in college.

For a child who has excelled beyond high school level coursework, it can be academically damaging to limit them to classes that will not challenge them or keep them engaged.

By allowing access to more college courses, students can continue the academic path that is appropriate for them without having to stifle their good habits.

When you factor in the rising cost of tuition for higher education, it makes sense why increasing a child’s ability to obtain college credits at a drastically lowered cost would be relevant, particularly in a time where student debt is at an all-time high.

A lack of access to these courses can be a disproportionate disadvantage for children who will be responsible for paying for their own college classes when the time arrives.

Student debt can be an inhibitor in a child’s willingness to commit to higher education and can slow down their overall path to success after college, forcing them to pass on a home or savings in order to repay the debt.

By increasing availability to these courses, high school students can continue their education in a more seamless way that ultimately leaves them more college ready.

Given the rigor of college courses, it is also likely that students will gain new and better habits around studying and focusing, which they can in turn channel into their current high school courses as well.

As time passes, we can expect to see more careful integration between high schools and colleges.

The St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland is gaining headlines after their switch to a new academic schedule.

This new schedule focused around having longer classes that meet on fewer days throughout the week is one of many countrywide academic changes to scheduling in an attempt to better facilitate student learning.

The school has made it so that classes will be held for three longer sessions instead of the original four shorter sessions.

It is the hope of the school officials that this will allow teachers to engage more creative methods of instruction and support students in a more hands-on capacity.

It is their belief that this will allow for less homework, increase critical learning processes, and will even allow for students and teachers to meet in a one-on-one capacity throughout the day.

This school is just one of many that have adapted their school schedules in an attempt to increase student engagement, lessen student homework loads, and provide a more comprehensive education overall.

After attention has been called to the impact of homework pressures on student mental well-being, helping students gain their comprehension in a class rather than outside of it has become increasingly relevant.

Further, changes in start times have been proven to impact student grades overall by giving students the amount of time that they need to rest and recover so that they can come in ready to learn.

As time passes, resources increase and teaching styles adapt, we can expect to see a continuous refinement process when it comes to scheduling.

Optimizing the environment and structure around learning to better accommodate the individual student is a relevant step towards increasing overall student success.

The more attention we dedicate to giving our children the best possible education, the more optimistic we can all feel about leaving the world in their hands.

References:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190227191056.htm

https://www.educationdive.com/news/why-teachers-are-teaching-keyboarding-earlier/548833/

https://www.educationdive.com/news/college-ready-high-schoolers-need-more-early-pathway-options/548944/

https://www.educationdive.com/news/research-informed-practices-can-aid-educators-in-improving-school-schedules/549082/

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