"Beware the ides of March."
The phrase above from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was oft repeated during exam season when I was a child. The season of mango blossoms, summer showers and well, the dreaded term-end assessments! My father would ask us to start our revision on time (which often fell on deaf ears, as you may have rightly guessed!) and offer endless tips on tackling exams better. I remember some of them vividly : a chart on my wardrobe for my math formulae, step by step illustrations for my biology drawings or a list of synonyms/ antonyms written on small slips that my father made me write, so I could practise while in the bus!
It was essentially this that I wanted to re-create with the Learning Hut's February event, Study Tips and Revision Strategies, this toolbox of sorts, not all them immediately relevant, but definitely piquing the child's curiosity.
The session started off with a discussion on what the children liked or hated about exams. While some of the answers were expected, and rightfully so, it was refreshing to see one of them say, "Exams challenge our minds". You're one wise child, young woman! This was followed by an exploration into different learning styles : visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. This was a huge hit, with enthousiastic participation from all the children. It was a quite a sight to see widened eyes, hands shot up in the air, to say, "that's me!"
After this, we discussed the Pomodoro technique of time management. A system that basically divides a task into 25 minute chunks, with four such chunks making up an entire "tomato" , the pomodoro! Some of the younger children really liked this method and I wish they put it into practice as often as possible. Psst, it's great for adults too!
One method I often used as a child was the SQ3R : Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. This was the next topic of discussion in the workshop. The children worked in groups of three to actually put the principles into practice. I was really impressed to see them working in harmony, determined to learn as best as they could!
The last tip that was shared was on how to take Cornell Notes, a concise and effective method of taking notes, that are super useful for revision. I would have loved to talk about revision schedules as well, but we ran short of time and I wanted to respect the children's time, especially during the exams!
The children gave me positive feedback and it was a moment of satisfaction when one of them came back to me saying , "I tried the Cornell notes method and it was really useful! Thank you! " I was extremely happy with their whole-hearted participation throughout the event. I tell you, this is one bunch of motivated kids!
Children are at the receiving end of a lot of advice and suggestions in general and therefore, I made sure the workshop was not only about suggestions, rather an inquiry into the science of good learning itself.
So here's wishing them all the very best for their exams, from the Learning Hut!