How to Ask Your Professors for Help

What’s your biggest fear about asking a professor for help?

One of my clients worries that his teacher is going to make fun of him; another is concerned that she’ll feel humiliated.

During today’s video, I share about what happened when a client pushed through her fear and asked for help anyway.

Do you have any success stories? Please share, as students all over the world need to have their own fears reassured.

Also, if you have an example of a fear that you believe is justified, tell me that too!

Are You Intimidated by (at least) One of Your Teachers?

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Are you (or your student) intimidated by a teacher, which is creating a problem for you?

I deal with this on a weekly basis during my academic coaching sessions with clients.The other day, a client struggled with how to deal with this.

I was so inspired by what we came up with that I quickly made this video. I hope it’s helpful to you! Got any questions? Concerns? Brainstorms? I’d love to hear them! Comment on the blog

Pick the Easiest Essay Prompt… or the Most Interesting One?

When your teacher lets you choose which essay prompt to write about, do you go for the easy one?

Often my high school clients will ask me to help them choose which essay prompt to write about. They often ask, “Which one do you think is the easiest?” and I often ask them in return, “Which one is the most interesting one to you?”

Recently, a client and I had this exchange about how to choose an essay prompt:

How do you decide which essay prompt to write about? I’d love to hear. Feel free to ask me a question, too, if this is a subject that’s challenging for you. Comment Below

How to Have Time to Study and Relax on Vacation

I hope you’re enjoying your time off, and aren’t secretly stressed out because of homework and/or studying that needs to be done!

Recently, a client and I chatted about how to have time for work AND fun over the holidays, and I thought I’d pass along the good ideas that came up in our session:

Once you watch the video, I’d love to hear from you: how do you balance your studying with having fun?

How to Make a Study Guide

Have you (or your student) ever been sent home with a lot of new material and no study guide?

That’s exactly what my client complained about during a recent session. High school students are so used to teachers handing out study guides that it can totally throw you off if you don’t get one!

Here’s how I recommended that he create his own study guide (and it may just be a *better* study process than if his teacher had provided it for him!). Check it out:

What experiences do you have with coming up with creative solutions for studying when teachers don’t give you a study guide? I’d love to hear yours. Comment Below

A Creative Trick for Helping You Get Started With a Tough Task

Is getting started on a big project a problem for you, or a student you know?

I definitely have trouble initiating hard tasks, so I have a lot of empathy for my clients who struggle with this, too.

Here’s one trick I use that is proven to get me over that “uninspired” hump. I need to use it sparingly, but it always works when I get desperate enough to try. I hope it’s helpful to you.

 

 

Got any questions, or experiences of your own to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below.

How to Make a Study Guide for Finals

Have you (or your student) ever been sent home with a lot of new material and no study guide?

That’s exactly what my client complained about during a recent session. High school students are so used to teachers handing out study guides that it can totally throw you off if you don’t get one!

Here’s how I recommended that he create his own study guide (and it may just be a *better* study process than if his teacher had provided it for him!). Check it out:


What experiences do you have with coming up with creative solutions for studying when teachers don’t give you a study guide? I’d love to hear yours. Comment below.

 

An Easy and Fun Way to Memorize Anything

An Easy and Fun Way to Memorize Anything

It’s officially fall! As the temperature drops, the semester is just heating up. Students are starting to sweat through harder tests and more complex assignments. Is this true for you?

Recently, a client who has difficulty with short term memory was assigned one day to memorize the preamble of the constitution. For a young man with a learning difference, this was a Herculean task!

We came up with a fun approach that might be helpful to the rest of you, so I wanted to pass it on.

Take a look at this quick 2-minute video explanation. Then, use the comments section below to tell me whether you think this might work for you. Are there other memorization tricks that rock your world?

Are You So Creative You Are Bored At School?

Meet Rina. YouTuber, Suzuki violinist, and soon to be 8th grader. Clearly, Rina is NOT a morning person, which she hilariously demonstrates in this homemade video.

Rina and her mom are signed up to participate in The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying this summer. I haven’t met Rina yet, but I already know we’ll get along great. After all, she’s got the gumption to create this video and share it with the world!

Rina is exactly the kind of student I’m excited to serve: super creative, filled with ideas, and courageous enough to take action on those ideas.

The problem for these kids often is that there doesn’t seem to be room at school to act on their crazy, quirky ideas. School seems to be about doing what the teacher thinks is interesting and important…not what YOU are on fire to learn.

In my years coaching these creatives, I’ve learned that there is a particular mindset that limits their ability to learn effectively in a school environment.

When we shift this mindset, students’ whole relationship to learning changes as well…as do their test grades and their self-confidence.

The limiting mindset is: “School is about doing what the teachers wants me to do. My creativity doesn’t belong there unless the teacher says so.”

A more freeing mindset is: “I can be in charge of how I bring my creativity into learning. I can learn what the teacher wants me to learn AND be creative.”

Our education system trains kids to follow someone else’s directions at school; it doesn’t train them to think about their learning, and apply their natural skills and abilities to this learning.

I’ve started asking my clients to look at their assignments and think, “Why did your teacher assign this worksheet? What’s the hidden learning purpose?” Once they get good at identifying the learning purpose, I ask, “How can you achieve this learning purpose in your own, creative way?”

Through these questions, kids exercise their skills at meta-cognition (which means “thinking about our thinking”). The better students get at this skill, the more easily they are able to integrate their true, creative, authentic selves in many more areas of their lives.

Their creativity becomes a fluid, dynamic presence in all areas of their lives — rather than a fun thing they squeeze in between school responsibilities.

If you are a creative kid who feels stifled at school — or if you’re the parent of one — I urge you both to join me for the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying. We’ll dive deeply into this topic and practice ways to be so creative that you are INSPIRED (rather than bored) at school.

P.S. If you’re not convinced that an online learning experience can be both fun & effective, take a free sneak peek!

 

 

How To Inspire Teens to Study Effectively Without Nagging

Did you miss the webinar last weekend?

I was sharing my “anti-boring” method for talking to teens about studying … in a way that raises grades, eliminates nagging and boosts self-confidence.

More than  100 concerned parents tuned in, and a few teens and adult learners, too.

We had a great time, and a number of you were inspired to sign up for my summer course. I also got several requests to share the talking points. So without further adieu…

2 mind-numbing study habits that all students should stop

  1. Don’t sit still while reading or reviewing. If you’re not moving any part of your body (except your hand to turn the page) for more than 10 minutes, you are TOO STILL and you will bore your brain.
  2. When you read textbooks or review your notes, don’t just start at the beginning. Instead, give your brain an “itinerary” for the “journey” you’re about to take while reading or reviewing the information for your test.

(Want me to walk you through how to stop, and what to do instead? Click here).

3 mistakes parents & tutors make that set students up to struggle

  1. Parents, tutors and teachers often accept the words “study” and “review” — the two most boring words on the face of the planet — as if they are communicating something of value. (See the video above to hear more about this; See below to see what you could say instead).
  2. We give struggling kids strategies for studying, often strategies that worked well for us when we were younger. However, we don’t explain WHY these strategies tend to work. When withhold this information, we are creating kids’ dependence on the specific strategies RATHER than teaching them how to choose the right strategies for the right occasion.
  3. Tutors often study with the students during their tutoring sessions, without also expecting that students study on their own. This is another way of creating dependence; kids don’t think for themselves about how to study because they know they can just wait for their tutor to give them activities to help them study.

(Want step-by-step support without having to pay a lot of money for private coaching for you or your teen? Click here.)

5…no, 6! … fail-safe actions to do this summer to lay the groundwork for your Best School Year Ever

  1. Get to know what is happening in your brain when you are learning. Understand what neural pathways are and how they are created. The better you understand your brain, the better you can choose study strategies that are efficient, effective…and anti-boring. The more parents AND kids understand this, the better they can communicate with each other.
  2. Understand the difference between passive (boring) and active (anti-boring) approaches to learning.  Spend the summer practicing how to be more active when you learn. Notice all the ways we learn with all our senses: speaking, hearing, listening and moving our bodies. When you get good at creating active study techniques for yourself, you are learning to “think like a teacher,” which will help you ace tests when the school year starts.
  3. Parents, practice asking better questions of your kiddos when you are discussing studying and learning. My two favorite questions these days are “What will you do to remember the key ideas?” and “How will you know when you are ready for the test and can stop studying?”
  4. Make conversations about learning a family affair. At the dinner table, brainstorm with your kids when you are struggling to learn/process/memorizing something at work. Have fun with each other coming up with “anti-boring” ideas for learning. Effective learning means trouble shooting strategies until you find the right ones, so parents can model this alongside their kiddos.
  5. Spend the summer collecting fun supplies that will make learning more active. This might include posterboard, clay, a giant white board, flashcards, etc. But don’t just read my list; everytime you go shopping notice if there are some supplies that belong in your “Study Cupboard.” Turn this into a game this summer. As you find a new supply, ask each other the question: “How might this supply help me remember key ideas more actively?”
  6. BONUS: Find a mentor or a coach. Sometimes the parent/child relationship is such that parent involvement gets in the way of learning. If that’s the case, find an adult who can have these conversations with your kids. Family friends are great…you might also like to employ an academic coach like me!

Want an easy way to follow through with these suggestions?

Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying This summer I am hosting an online learning extravaganza called “The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying“.

Through a series of short videos, animations, and activities, I will walk parents, tweens, and teens through the following:

  • wacky and effective explanations for the brain science behind learning
  • specifically what you’re doing now that bores your brain & hijacks learning
  • a menu of 15+ non-boring study techniques
  • how to turn those actions into efficient and effective study plans
  • how to create rockin’ organization and time management systems
  • how to fight procrastionation & follow through on your plan
  • conversation starters for parents and teens to make communicating about studying easy and nag-free

Designed for students 6th grade through adult, this online summer learning experience condenses the unique study techniques developed from an anti-boring career coaching hundreds of students (teens and adults) and presents them in a playful, easy-to-apply format.

The course opens from June 15 to August 15. It has the following components:

  • Six self-paced lessons (of about an hour each) that teens and parents can work through together and/or separately
  • Bi-weekly online group chats with Gretchen Wegner to get personalized help and answers to your questions
  • Facebook group for parents to share tips and tricks about how you are implementing these tools in your households
  • BONUS: Interviews sessions with guest experts on topics such as Learning Styles, College Admissions, Learnings Disabilities, SAT/ACT Prep, Accelerated Learning Strategies, and more.
  • Optional: Add on personalized 1:1 coaching directly from Gretchen (via video chat). Receive details about this after you have registered.

The $50 early bird discount is good through Sunday, June 8th at midnight. For more information and to register, click here!