Wednesday 25th February 2009 by C. Freeman
Year 11 students attended lively and though-provoking workshops on improving their study skills. The sessions, led by educational trainers, Positively Mad, covered techniques such as speed reading, mind mapping and memory boosting exercises. The sessions were interspersed with practical exercises which proved useful for the students who take their GCSE exams this summer.
Jay Shirley and Nick Caunter from Positively Mad (Making a Difference) presented the ideas to the students in a thought-provoking and fast-paced presentation. Both former performers, they travel all over the country to deliver a range of lectures to primary and secondary schools.
Nick said: 'It can take months to train to deliver the lectures because you basically have to learn the styles and put them into practice. There's little point in us standing up if we don't practise mind mapping and speed reading and doing these techniques ourselves. We impart a lot of information over the two-and-a-half hour sessions.'
The year group was split into two halves with the first attending the lectures in the morning and the others in the afternoon. The students also completed a questionnaire to gauge the impact of what they had been taught.
Jay said: 'The students responded excellently, they sat, they listened and they weren't afraid to give an opinion which, I think, is very important. I wanted to make them part of the presentation so that they have got something out of it as well. Today they were excellent. It doesn't matter whether you are an A* student, a C/D borderline or lower, everybody can do these techniques. We never stop training and I learn something new every day.'
Mrs Steele said: 'Looking at the feedback on the questionnaires, the students have gone through quite a lot of self-reflection about themselves and the way in which they study. Most of them can see how these skills will help.'
The sessions proved so popular that three further lectures; on Super Speed Study Skills, Student Motivation and Exam Buster techniques have been booked for Year 10 and 11 students next academic year.
For those not lucky enough to see one of the lectures; here's a few tips and tricks:
- Sit up: When you slouch the body automatically relaxes and both blood flow and oxygen to the brain decrease. The simple act of sitting up and paying attention boosts blood and oxygen levels and signals that you are prepared to work.
- Mind mapping: When mind mapping use colours, pictures and key facts to give as much impact as possible. Make the map personal to you. Memorise it and mentally project it onto a blank wall in the exam room to remember important information.
- Speed reading: Angle the book at a comfortable distance. Quickly scan chapter and sub headings and look out for key words. Turn the chapter title into a question and look for key facts to answer it. Read the first and last paragraphs of each chapter which may provide a summary of crucial information.