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Back in the Classroom – Six Behaviours for Successful Learning


National Deputy Principal

North Shore Coaching College


Tuition class

What a great start to Term Two!

North Shore Coaching College is buzzing with the energy of learning.

We are privileged to have such a motivated and enthusiastic student body – from our youngest pre-schoolers to the young adults who will soon embark on their university studies.

The classroom has always been the focus of our success as a tuition college. After an absence of two years, I am delighted to have the opportunity to return to classroom teaching.

Returning to teaching has given me a chance to reflect on the concept of success. What does it take to be a successful learner? How can we support students to maximise their learning?

Regardless of age or ability level, success is something that requires work. Even someone who is an “overnight success” will tell you that success comes through simple, plain hard work.


The challenge for a teacher is to maximise opportunities for success. In order for a student to be well-positioned for success requires not only an engaged teacher but also an engaged student. Below are 6 behaviours to encourage in students if they are to enjoy maximum success:

1. Focus:

It may sound obvious but focus is the key ingredient to any success. In the classroom environment mobile phones and other devices can be a source of distraction. For this reason the use of mobile devices is banned in our classrooms. Focus is a learned response that can be encouraged through positive reinforcement – our Good Student Awards and positive verbal feedback are just two ways in which we do this.

However, self-discipline must eventually come into play. Students even from an early age can be taught to recognise when they are straying from task and develop strategies to stay engaged. Simple things such as clasping your hands whilst listening to instructions will help. The ubiquitous water bottle can become a distraction for some. If a student hydrates prior to the lesson there is less need for the water bottle to be brought out during class time.


2. Ask & Answer Questions:tuition,coaching

It is by asking that we learn. If there is something a student does not understand they need to seek help early or the issue will only worsen. There is no shame in asking for help – it can be the mark of a motivated and engaged student. As such we encourage this in our classrooms.

Just as important is the willingness to answer questions posed by the teacher. Even if the answer is not fully correct, it will point to the level of understanding a student currently possesses. This will let the teacher know if they need to offer clarification or remediation.

Our classrooms are safe places. Students should feel safe to overcome shyness and speak up, offer answers and pose questions. Success is forged from bravery – a bravery to put ideas forward and make mistakes – mistakes from which understanding can grow. The meek and mild might make it to a job interview but the bold will win the job.


3. Consolidate New Concepts:

Some concepts are easy to learn and others prove more challenging. When a student learns a new concept there must be sufficient time for consolidation. This will involve consolidation activities/exercises in class as well as the need for review after the lesson.

It is important that parents ask what was covered in each lesson and see how well the student understands. It may be necessary to give a little support or have the student undertake an example to help consolidate learning. For example, if your child has been studying the area of a triangle, you could pose one or two questions to assist in “bedding down” the concept.


4. Complete Homework:

Homework is designed to consolidate skills and competencies developed in the lesson. Completing homework each week maximises the effectiveness of our courses. It allows to teacher to gauge student progress and assist with correcting misunderstandings and developing student knowledge.

Homework remains a contentious issue with some educators. However if, like myself, you are currently undertaking tertiary or other study, you will know first-hand that homework (study) does pay off. Encourage your child to do their North Shore homework early in the week by having a set time and location for it to be undertaken (e.g. 6pm on Monday evening in dad’s office). This will help prevent homework from becoming a stressful, negative activity.


High School Exams success

5. Review:

Students need to schedule regular review sessions for difficult concepts. For example, once a fortnight Year 4 students should review their most challenging spelling words or how to divide fractions. We often benefit from refreshing our understandings.

Identify the more challenging concepts – those that can fade from memory – even devoting 5 minutes to reciting the times tables once a week will pay dividends.


6. Being a Life-long Learner:

For a number of years we have been told to prepare students so they can be life-long learners.

It seemed that this was a good course of action for future success and would give them an advantage over those who were less motivated.

It is now a necessity – not a choice. In the workforce we are now required to up skill and update our qualifications across all professions. This is regardless of our age or qualifications – we can no longer rest on our laurels!


So what does this mean for a young student? The implications are quite significant.

The biggest deterrent from becoming an engaged life-long learner is a negative experience of primary school. Learning must be rewarding, engaging and with sufficient challenge. Students must like their teachers and love coming to classes. If your child is not enjoying learning you must let us know so we can remedy the situation.

Above all we cannot put undue stress on a student. The stress of getting into OC or a Selective School is a stress we must bear on ourselves as adults and make sure we do not transfer it to the students. If a test score isn’t as high as we would like we must frame it in a positive manner to encourage a better result in the future. No child willingly tries to do their worst. Sometimes as parents we must accept a less than pleasing result and support the child to a better outcome down the track. Expressing our frustration or disappointment will create self-doubt and anxiety – either in the short or longer term.

OC,selective,scholarship success

I have met so many talented students over my 35 year career that never fulfilled their potential because they stopped learning after university. They cited the concern that they were made to feel their results weren’t good enough. Turning around negativity in a young adult is difficult. This negativity is avoidable if we are more mindful of how we approach students when they are younger.

Like all things that are truly worthwhile in our lives success does not come easy. The greatest investment you will make is not in real estate but in your children. How successful they become is determined by the example we provide and the support we offer.

Have a great term and stay safe.

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