Blog index

June 6, 2018

Help your students succeed by teaching them to get organized early

Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

We've mentioned the importance of organizational skills and executive function skills in the past, but over the last few weeks, I've been meeting many educators during EdTech events such as iPadpalooza in Austin as well as local education technology events in Montreal.

Every adult I meet reacts the same way when seeing Studyo for the first time. They simply say "I wish I had a tool like this back in high school!" and those who are parents react the same way when thinking about their teenagers struggling with some aspects of managing school and personal tasks.

I recently uncovered an article from Christopher Ford of York University's "The New Yorke-er" blog about Organization as the key to Academic Success. And it struck me: we all see the benefits of getting organized once we get to adulthood. But seldom do we understand this idea as teens. Or we "get it", but resources to help us learn this essential skill are lacking.

A proper school-level strategy to teach organizational skills

Many schools provide counsellors, advisors or study skill professionals to help students with organizational difficulties, but very few focus on this for all students.

There are some exceptions of course, such as Smith Middle School, part of Glastonbury Public Schools. At SMS, they focused on helping students build up their organizational skills and noticed the difference.

Stephen Falcigno, the acting principal at the school recently told me the following: " We surveyed students at the end of the year and of the students using Studyo, 67% felt it helped them organize their work". This is a very high impact number considering part of the remaining students were potentially already well organized. Of course, no tool can do this in isolation and proper practice must be encouraged by the teachers.

Middle School is the best time to help students improve their skills, and this means more than simply providing them with appropriate tools, but defining steps to help them understand what it means to be organized and develop appropriate strategies.

By helping students early, we help them for all time to come.

Interested in Student Agency? This webinar recording might be of interest.