What – me study?

26 Students in my thinking critically and creatively class rank ordered the following 28 guidelines for becoming a successful student:

First number-the students consistently practice; Second number – they periodically practice; Third number they do not practice, but will begin to do so

What are your observations?   How about reading, writing, critical thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing, learning that is interrelated, and self-awareness and self-consciousness?  Remember Descartes’ famous dictum:  “Cogito ergo sum.”

Excuse the length – what – me take time to read!  Make it short and sweet.


  1. Make an effort to maintain a regular sleep pattern of 8 hours or so.

3, 9, 6 = 18

  1. Become a questioner. Engage yourself in lectures and discussions by asking questions. If you do not ask questions, you will probably not discover what you do and do not know. Overcome the fear or anxiety of what will others think. One good question is worth a thousand answers. The question you ask may well be the question which is on the minds of others.

6, 2, 4 = 12 

  1. Successful students accept personal responsibility, seeing themselves as the primary cause of their outcomes and experiences;

10, 2, 0 = 12

  1. Think of your instructor as a coach. Think of yourself as a team member trying to practice the thinking and articulation exemplified by your instructor.

2, 2, 7 = 11 

  1. Consider class time as a time in which you practice thinking using the fundamental concepts and principles of the course. Don’t sit back passively, waiting for knowledge to fall into your head like water into a glass.

5, 4, 2 = 11

  1. Figure out what study and learning skills you are not good at. Practice those skills whenever possible. Recognizing and correcting your weakness is a strength and gives you an advantage in the learning process. Go to the skills lab and ask for a study skills’ workbook — very helpful.

6, 1, 4 = 11

  1. Frequently ask yourself, “Can I explain this idea to someone not in class?” From time to time, do you share with others something you have learned in class?

5, 2, 4 = 11

  1. Make an effort to eat a balanced diet, to exercise at least three times a week to mend the mind and mind the body, otherwise, numbers 1 through 18 may suffer as a consequence.

2, 4, 5 = 11

  1. Make sure you thoroughly understand the requirements of each class, how it will be taught, and what will be expected of you. Ask questions about the grading policies and for advice on how best to prepare for class.

6, 3, 1 = 10

 10. Test yourself before you come to class by trying to summarize, orally, or in writing, the main points of the previous class meeting; if you cannot summarize, you have not learned the main ideas; student e-mails should help in this matter.

1, 5, 4 = 10

 11. Become an active learner. Be prepared to work into your thinking by active reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

3, 4, 2 = 9

 12. Successful students believe in themselves, seeing themselves as capable, lovable, and worthy human beings;

2, 3, 4 = 9

 13. Routinely ask questions to fill in the missing pieces in your learning. Can you elaborate further on this idea? Can you give an example? If you don’t have examples, you are not connecting what you are learning to your personal and/or professional life.

4, 2, 2 = 8

  1. Relate content whenever possible to issues and problems and especially practical situations in your life. If you can’t relate it to your personal and/ or professional life, then you don’t understand the content. You may know about it or of it, but not know and understand it in your own words.

4, 3, 0 = 7

  1. Frequently evaluate your listening. Are you actively listening for main points? Can you summarize what your instructor is saying in your own words? Can you elaborate what is meant by key terms?

2, 3, 2 = 7 

  1. Successful students discover self-motivation, finding purpose in their lives by discovering personally meaningful goals and dreams;

2, 2, 2 = 6

  1. Look for interconnections. The content in every class is always a system of interconnected ideas, never a random and isolated list of material to memorize. Don’t memorize like a parrot. Study like a detective, relating new learning to previous learning.

2, 2, 1 = 5

 18.  Think about the textbook as the thinking of the author. Your challenge is to critique the thinking of the author who might have a conservative or liberal bias. You do not have to accept everything the author states; you may detect the biases of the author either openly or discreetly. What are the main points of the paragraph? Read with an understanding heart and a critical mind. Iron sharpens iron.

0, 0, 5 = 5

 19. Using writing as a way to learn by writing summaries in your own words of important points from the text or other reading materials. Make up questions. Write out answers to your own questions.

0, 0, 5 = 5

 20. Successful students develop emotional intelligence, effectively managing their emotions in support of their goals and dreams;

2, 1, 2 = 5

 21. Seek to find the key concepts of the course during the first couple of class meetings. Fundamental ideas are the basis for all other ideas.

2, 1, 1 = 4

 22. Think of each subject you study as a form of thinking, for example, in your various classes think in terms of trends and issues and causes and effect, and how they impact you and society in general; and how your courses are interrelated.

0, 3, 1 = 4

 23. Learn to test your thinking using intellectual benchmarks: “Am I being clear? Accurate? Precise? Relevant? Logical? Am I looking for what is most significant?”

0, 3, 1 = 4

  1. Frequently evaluate your reading. Are you reading the text actively or mindlessly? Are you asking questions as you read? Can you distinguish what you understand from what you don’t?

0, 2, 2 = 4 

  1. Successful students adopt lifelong learning, finding valuable lessons and wisdom in nearly every experience they have;

1, 3, 0 = 4

  1. Successful students employ interdependence, building mutually supportive relationships that help them achieve their goals and dreams;

3, 0, 1 = 4

  1. Successful students master self-management, consistently planning and taking purposeful actions in pursuit of their goals and dreams;

0, 1, 2 = 3

 28.  Successful students gain self-awareness, consciously employing behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes that keep them on course;

1, 0, 1 = 2

Resource: www.cengage.com/success/Downing/OnCourseSS




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