Archive for the ‘adolescent study tips’ Category

The Effects of Multitasking on Learning

November 23, 2014

multitask2When today’s students are studying, it’s common for them to also be texting, emailing, and posting on Facebook and other social media sites. And while is the social and emotional world young people live in today, scientists and educators are concerned that multitasking while learning can put students at a disadvantage.

Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention. They understand and remember less, and they have greater difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts.

That is because these multitasking operations are actually quite mentally complex. They draw on the same mental resources—using language, parsing meaning—demanded by schoolwork. Under most conditions, the brain simply can’t do two complex tasks at the same time, unless the two tasks are both very simple and don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. But if someone is listening to a lecture while texting, they are engaging in two very demanding tasks, each of which uses the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Researchers offer this bit of advice if you have a multitasking student:

Do 15 uninterrupted minutes of homework. Then take a “tech break”—two minutes to text, check websites and post on social media to satisfy the craving for electronic communication. Then it’s back to the homework for another 15 minutes.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Help Your Child Concentrate Better

August 23, 2014

At a time when multitasking (texting, listening to music, surfing the Internet)— is becoming the new normal, you may find that your child is having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

If you can establish effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age, you will have provided a foundation for long-term success in high school, college and the professional working world.

Here are some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus:

Set expectations early—Explain to your children that just as you have many important responsibilities (at home, at work, in your community, etc.), learning is their most important “job” right now. Establish a routine for homework and studying by including younger children in homework by having them color or look at books while older children are doing homework.

Divide big projects into small tasks—Big projects can overwhelm. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.

Manage distractions—Set up rules such as: no television, phone or computer until homework is done. Research has found that certain types of music such as classical and instrumental help people concentrate better, so consider playing Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

Use time to increase focus— Sometimes setting a short period of time will help a child focus longer. Set a timer for a particular task that your child can work to “beat.” One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.

Establish rules for doing homework—Make a rule that your children’s homework and studying be completed (neatly and correctly) before going out to play. As seasons and activities change throughout the year, be flexible and adapt to changing schedules.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Link Between ADHD and Dyslexia

June 9, 2014

learningdisability3As many as one in four children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have dyslexia. And
between 15 and 40 percent of children with dyslexia have ADHD. With this in mind, it is important for parents to look at the whole picture when assessing your child’s performance.

Experts have found that similar areas of the brain are involved in both disorders—areas that lead to problems with executive function, memory, and processing symbols quickly. What’s different is how these disorders play out—dyslexic children have difficulty with reading and writing, while ADHD involves issues with behavior.

identify a learner’s strengths and developing strategies that compensate for weaknesses, we can design a learning program that focuses on:

Children with ADHD and dyslexia usually have normal to high intelligence and high creativity, but are frustrated academically. They tend to process information differently—relying more on auditory and tactile approaches—than other children.

If your child has either or both of these disorders, they may benefit from after-school tutoring. Optiminds can help you determine if your child has ADHD or dyslexia and design a customized program based on their strengths and weaknesses.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Study Tips for Teens

May 23, 2014

teenstudy1It won’t be long before the school year wraps up for the year—but only after those final exams. Adopting some good study habits can help you perform better on tests and relieve some of the anxiety of taking exams as well.

Don’t wait for a looming exam to get into the studying groove. Get a head start by learning to take good notes all during the school year. Note-taking is a way of remembering what you were taught or what you’ve read about.

Write down key facts that your teacher mentions in class or writes on the board during class. Organize notes by subject and make sure they are easy to read and review. You may want to recopy some of your notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Research has shown that the act of holding a pen and creating shapes on paper (writing down your notes) sends feedback signals to the brain, leaving a “motor memory” which makes it easier to later recall the information. Typing or digitally recording does not have the same cognitive effect.

Not all exams are created equal, so don’t feel the need to divide your studying equally between different subjects. Assess each exam in terms of difficulty and your own level of knowledge, and spend more time on the sections that you know will be more challenging for you.

If you start to lose your motivation while studying, try moving to the kitchen table or going to the library. This can help you get your focus back and potentially improve your memory of the material. Meditation has also been shown to boost focus and improve test scores. Try sitting quietly and focusing on breathing for five minutes twice a day to improve mental clarity.

Most of us can concentrate well for about 45 minutes. So break your study time into 45-minute chunks and take a 15-minute break. Studies have found that taking a 10-minute walking break can help improve your focus for up to two hours afterwards.

Snack on studying-friendly foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, peanut butter, milk and seafood. Get your energy boost by eating a banana or an apple rather than consuming caffeine or energy drinks. And drink plenty of water because even mild dehydration can impair cognitive functioning and mental performance.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


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