This resource page for guidance counsellors is accompanied by two others:
one for students and one for parents.
What follows is a checklist based on the items in the student resource sheet. Underlying the student resource sheet are a number of assumptions, namely, that students will:
- be self-directing and will have made some progress in their studies
- aspire to the characteristics of the effective and efficient student
- consult with important people in their lives when in need of help and encouragement
- have access to a competent guidance counsellor
The purpose of this resource page is to help guidance counsellors to deal with many of the issues presented by students who wish to improve their study skills and habits. Clearly, while it lists many issues, it provides only a framework on which to explore some of the concerns of students. It does not provide any details or underlying theory about the issues.
Guidance counsellors will be familiar with the many resources in book form, on the internet and in the form of assessment instruments that are available. These should be used to underpin normal guidance practice. Similarly, and importantly, academic research and evidence on areas related to study, such as memory, learning and assessment, are in constant development and such evidence should be the basis of informed practice.
It is clearly stated in the student resource sheet that, in accordance with the concept of appropriate guidance, the guidance counsellor is there to help those who, having tried to study effectively, wish for affirmation, guidance and help in seeking improvement.
Similarly, in the context of the continuum of support promoted by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) and in the context of whole-school guidance, the resource sheet could be used in a variety of settings by the guidance counsellor or by subject teachers, as appropriate. It is envisaged that, for example, it might be used by the guidance counsellor in planning and implementing guidance lessons and in establishing a consistent and coherent approach to study among teaching staff, both in their general approach to study and in advising students about approaches to studying their individual subjects.
On the student resource page, the issues that can help, or hinder, effective study are grouped under the following categories:
When to ask for help ?
While the student resource page is intended to help students to devise their own study plans and routines, some will want to improve the way they study or to seek affirmation and encouragement about their current work. The guidance counsellor is suggested as a person to approach if a student, for example:
- Has tried to use some of the ideas listed and they don’t seem to work
- Is confused by the number of possible things that can go wrong
- Needs further information about any of the ideas listed
- Needs help in making a start.
- Needs someone to check that what is being done is effective.
Issues with study may be subject-related for some students. Collaboration by the guidance counsellor with subject teachers in the identification of useful study methods for their subjects might enable teachers to deal with questions from students as they arise. In addition, such collaboration might help teachers to identify students with issues more appropriately dealt with by the guidance counsellor.
Students are encouraged to speak to the guidance counsellor individually or in class groups. It is suggested that the guidance counsellor would welcome in advance some of the questions that students have in mind, in order to help in preparing answers to their particular concerns.
It is suggested that while much information exists about study skills, memory, reading, note taking, etc. in books and on websites such as:
NCGE acknowledges the contribution of Colum Layton in the development of this resource page.
Further recommended reading:
'Helping students to concentrate while studying' by Aidan Moran could be read in conjunction with this article.
It can be found HERE in "Delivering the Guidance Programme" section.