I came up with a 10-point academic boost for today’s students, made in form of an affirmation/pledge. Affirmations and pledge are good for commitment.
How did I come about these 10 points? I was once a student. Not one you would could have called a bookworm because I used to play like any other boy then (street soccer, table tennis, chess etc.) But all these were not to the detriment of my academics.
Why am I sharing this? I guess unconsciously, all through my primary and secondary school days, I was being guided by these 10 points that I have now carefully articulated for today’s students. Back then, the points weren’t written down, but they were there in my subconscious guiding me through my academic journey.
In my dealings with today’s students (I meet new sets of students virtually every week as I conduct seminars in schools), I can see fundamental gaps that are affecting their academic outcomes. This is sometimes because they are not being properly directed and supported. And it is leading to frustration on both sides of learning and teaching. A teacher told me recently, ‘Students have never been this lazy.’ A public school principal, feeling incapacitated and lamenting the ineffectiveness of the school system in her state, said, ‘We (the teaching staff) are just here to cage them until they become full-blown thugs.’
Now, that may not be the story in every school. But whatever the story is with your students or children, these 10 points can be a new orientation that will create the fresh impetus needed for a much better academic performance and conduct.
THE 10 POINTS
1. I WILL PRESENT MYSELF ALWAYS AS A SMART AND BRIGHT STUDENT
You should be perceived and observed as a serious learner in all engagements in school.
2. I WILL ALWAYS READ AND STUDY TO A POINT OF UNDERSTANDING AND ASSIMILATION
There is a ‘disease’ I want to cure today’s students of. It is cramming just to pass exams. No student can have a thorough education with such a habit. What you cram you will forget in a matter of days. What you understand stays with you forever.
3. I WILL LEARN HOW TO ARTICULATE MY EXPRESSION IN SPEAKING AND WRITING
Your expression matters as a student. It is one of the main things your examiner awards you marks for. Rid yourself of all anti-learning fads causing your communication and expression to be incoherent and poor.
4. I WILL BUILD FRIENDSHIPS WITH SERIOUS STUDENTS TO ENHANCE MY LEARNING AND EDUCATION
Relate generally with all your mates and other students but choose a few serious minded students as reading partners for knowledge sharing to gain more knowledge and reinforce what you already know.
5. I WILL BE GOOD IN CURRENT AFFAIRS AND GENERAL KNOWLEDGE RELEVANT TO MY EDUCATION
You should a student who can relate his studies in the classroom with realities in the outside world. Be informed about relevant facts that will aid your studies.
6. I WILL CONDUCT MYSELF AS A RESPONSIBLE STUDENT IN AND OUT OF THE SCHOOL PREMISES
Don’t be a student that can boast of good grades but not good manners. Your parents and teachers should be able to beat their chest that you are a well-behaved and responsible person. Good grades, good manners and being responsible all connect on the way up.
7. I WILL DEVELOP MY VOCABULARY IN ORDER TO BE A CONFIDENT STUDENT AND LATER A CONFIDENT AND COMPETENCE PROFESSIONAL
Your level of vocabulary determines your level of reading, writing and assimilatuon. Build your vocabulary in order to enjoy greater learning experiences as a student.
8. I WILL USE THE SCHOOL LIBRARY AND OTHER RESOURCE CENTRES AROUND ME TO ENRICH MY KNOWLEDGE
Avail yourself the opportunity to engage with materials in the resource centres around you
9. I WILL NOT BE IN THE HABIT OF MISSING CLASS OR SCHOOL FOR FRIVOLOUS REASONS
Be so focused on your goal to excel academically that you don’t get drawn away by thngs that don’t really matter to your studies nor impact your progress in Iife
10. I WILL NEVER CHEAT OR ENGAGE IN EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE
The wrong road will not lead to the right destination. Don’t go the route of cheating to pass exams. It is a bad foundation for your future.
Michael Omisore is the author of the ‘Smart and Brilliant Writing’ series of books for school students. He facilitates training for both students and teachers and writes on education in a leading national newspaper.
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