As part of our support to partner schools in their work to develop students’ skills both academic and social, the NBSS works with whole staffs, subject departments, working groups and individual teachers in the areas of literacy, learning and academic skills development including young people’s study skills. To further this work, the NBSS develops study and learning skills teacher and student resources. The resources include powerpoint presentations that can be used with students and adapted for use at parent information evenings, learning style questionnaires and study skills surveys and are tailored to suit the particular target group.
As part of the NBSS Teacher as Researcher Action Research Project, three teachers in different partner schools used the resources with students in their school. All three teachers provided interview data with regard to their interventions which were implemented with either a targeted class group or year group.
The following extracts are from interviews conducted by the NBSS with the three teachers who used the study and learning skills resources to create and run Study Skills interventions with their students.
“…from the presentations/workshops they seem to understand more what study is about whereas before they were saying well you read it and you know it. Whereas now they are shocked by Dale’s hierarchy that you learn most from doing, that you don’t learn much from reading. They were kind of shocked by that. Through the sessions they can see the different ways to study. One of the students learns with her SNA and she sings it out, makes up rhymes. And she shared that with the others students in the class. Giving them new ideas, rather than me telling them. We did some visual graphic organisers...they really did enjoy it…
…The other Home Ec teacher has adapted some of those graphic organisers...and I indirectly heard that some teachers are actually using it to kind of get their message across.”
“I would like maybe every class ideally, particularly in the Junior Cycle, to have a series of study skills sessions… Just to get them organised... And I know often we get an outsider to come in to do a study skills session but I think it is important to have it continuous over a series of weeks to build up a system… I think it is to have a system in place. To get them into the habit of it really…
And I also took a page from their Business, photocopied it, Insurance, very boring. I said summarise that for me, put it into points, how would you do it... Only one of them came up with a fantastic mind map...others...The mind map was tiny, just the main words. Some of them were sitting there writing it all out nearly again. Like literally it was a full page...I explained to them that’s the page in the book and that’s what you have written. That is one page of one book of one subject. You are going to do that for every subject when you have ten subjects?”
“They also had a set of exams after this. And we sent home a report. And there were significant changes in the results. There was probably ten to fifteen per cent change in their Geography marks. Everyone passed. Everybody passed. In the winter (exams before the intervention), I would say half failed. But everyone passed with a decent mark.
I think what the group got out of it was that there was a different way than just reading the page. Simply there was something else you could do when you opened the page rather than just sit and bore yourself stupid looking at lines. You know, that they could actively be involved in their own learning.”