Last night I dreamt I ate a ten pound marshmallow. When I woke up the pillow was gone.

~ Tommy Cooper ~

High School and Study Skills

July 6th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 9 secs

Study skills at high school are definitely required.

What do you think of when you read “high school study skills”? I suppose I could of guessed. Yes, there are a range of proven, well-known approaches that will help every student. But when it comes to teens, study skills, and high school, we all know that this is precisely the time when opportunity collides with distraction. And, sadly, certain kids won’t choose well.

You can break it down this way. In western schools some students at high school rarely study. Most will try to study in a half-hearted way. While, a few students will study regardless (even underwater if they have to).

But the vast bulk of school students will have mixed feelings about study skills and high school. Especially when the social mecca of Facebook beckons. Or the amusing allure of Youtube calls them hither. High school and study skills just aren’t that high on most western kids’ agenda.

Not so, in other places like Asia, for instance. High school and study skills are top priority and nothing is allowed to get in the way of students seeking to get an edge. After-school, weekend, and term break study skills sessions are packed with disciplined students; all ready to do what it takes to make the grade.

So should alarm bells be ringing in western nations over the poor performance teens demonstrate with high school and study skills? For many students, I believe the answer is yes. Most students can do dramatically better if they feel compelled. But, typically, the system hands the responsibility to teens, like it’s an option. If they’re motivated, then they’re likely to do well. Disinterested students, meanwhile, will be sent to the back of the line before they realize what they’ve lost.

Given the crucial influence of education for our future communities, that strikes me as slightly strange. We serve up a slew of educational resources and skilled professionals on a plate to people who are known to be going through a difficult stage of life; at a time when judgment is often compromised. Yet, we expect them to apply themselves with full adult insight. In the western world, where high school and study skills are hardly high on the teen agenda, it’s almost like flicking cards at someone and expecting that’s enough to cause them to become a card game extraordinaire. So it’s no surprise many simply refuse to play the game.

While I can offer tips on making studying easier and more efficient, it’s motivation that makes the greatest difference. In education, talent is terrific. But like the tortoise and the hare, it’s determination that wins over the long haul.  Should we let our teens fall through the educational cracks because they don’t “get it”? Or, is there a better way to do it that makes high school and study skills compelling at a teenage level? It’s a tricky question. But, I believe we should all make space for this conversation. After all, we need what the next generation will bring, because in this interconnected world, all of our futures will be intertwined.

  1. Leif Moldskred says:

    Very thoughtful article and you are definitely quite correct in your observations.

    Traditional education systems are failing and produce “losers” both in the East and West.

    I am presently living in Singapore and see students struggling worse than I have ever seen in the West. Still, our parts of the World is relying heavily on talents from the West to lead businesses and to create new industry.
    The result of the rigorous education system is not reflected in real life.

    The reason for failures in both East and West is the lack of reality based learning and adherence to traditional education systems.

    I have just recently started a website directed on this issue and will follow up with more articles and info.

    Check out my blog at