Have you ever felt like you couldn’t get your head around topic covered in class, and you wished an education expert would eliminate it from the curriculum?
Unless you’re the son/daughter of this curriculum creator, you won’t be able to have your annoying topic removed, so I’ll show you a secret weapon to avoid confusion in class and truly understand what you learn.
Even if you’ve been struggling with your courses for years, you think you’re not talented, or your teacher sucks at explaining stuff, you can tackle the obstacles in your path and become the valedictorian of your class. I’ll show you how.
Secret #1: Bombard your teachers with questions
Top students know that you need a solid understanding of the key concepts of your subjects to continue to do well later on. Therefore, when they don’t understand a new topic, they ask for immediate clarification.
Even it seems embarassing to launch question after question until you grasp every last detail of the topic, many of your classmates will secretly be grateful that you asked.
Now you don’t want to overwhelm or annoy your teachers by asking to broadly phrased questions. Instead, confront your teachers with the nitty-gritty details.
Poor example: Can you please explain what is meant by the different types of globalisation?
Better example: “Can you please explain the concept of political globalisation?” [let the teacher explain, then say something to confirm you understood, followed by the next question] “And how is it different from economic globalisation?”
If your teacher won’t answer questions during class, write down all your doubts and corner your teacher with your questions after class. And if your teacher is generally uncooperative – some are – then find a friend or classmate who can explain the concept to you.
Try to get all your questions answered within 48 hours – before they slip your mind.
Secret #2: Stock up on the books
Reading widely, in particular if you have a horrible teacher, is key to understanding the topics covered in class.
If you read journal articles and books from the leaders in the sciences, humanities, languages and arts, you’ll be ahead of your class, possibly even your school.
Now you may wonder “How can I get access to journals and books? Don’t I have to pay?”
Yes, for some books and journals you’ll have to pay; however, lots of articles can be found for free in online databases, for example:
A shared digital library created in 1995 to help university and college libraries free up space on their shelves, save costs, and provide greater levels of access to more content than ever before.
Google’s search engine for scholarly articles which allows you to specify your search to articles from a recent year.
A library for journal articles in the sciences and humanities with the advantage of providing the research highlights of each article (but you need to pay for full articles).
This site offers journals by Oxford University Press (you need to pay for the articles though) but it comes with recommendations of similar articles and books that may suit your topic based on your search query.
Secret #3: Arm yourself with digital weapons
Sometimes the explanations by your teachers and classmates, and the research articles may not give you the necessary practise at applying what you know. In such situations, it can be helpful to use digital resources, the best of which (my personal favourites) are listed below:
- Has video tutorials in maths, biology, chemistry, physics, history and economics
- Provides test prep (eg. SAT and GMAT) and college admissions advice
- To learn how to code with lessons and real projects (eg. webpage creation, hangman game design)
- Computer science tutorials
- Requires sign-up
- Interactive geography lessons for IGCSE and IB
Please comment and share other great resources you know. The best contributions will be incorporated in this post.