Tag: school

How Can I Create a Relaxing Study Environment?

As a student, studying is a big part of having success and getting your work done. You will spend a large amount of time studying for tests and homework assignments. To get your work done with high quality, it is necessary to have a good environment to study in. Trying to prepare for a test or focus on a difficult assignment becomes nearly impossible when your environment is distracting or noisy. Here are some of the best ways to set up a relaxing study environment.

Find a Quiet Place

As stated before, noise and distractions are going to make it very difficult to study. The best thing that you can do is find a quiet area. If you are a high school student and still live at home, find an area in your home that is calm, like a corner of the basement or your room. If you decide to designate your room to study in, don’t do it in your bed. Studying in your bed will make you more likely to fall asleep and possibly not get your work done. It will also make it harder for your brain to relax when it is actually time for you to sleep. If you are a college student and live on campus, there are tons of quiet places to study in. Libraries and study rooms are widely available on college campuses and make for a great environment to study in.

Make Yourself Comfortable

If you are in a public area, this may not work for you. However, if you are in your room or dorm, you can make your study area more relaxing with a few simple tricks. First of all, some people really enjoy playing soft music in the background. Studies have shown that calm music can help stimulate the brain and make remembering things easier. Another way to make your area more relaxing is to diffuse relaxing scents. The aroma in your room can greatly affect your productivity. Try using a diffuser along with a scent like lavender or sandalwood, which are both known for their relaxing properties. You should also try to let some natural light in. Natural light puts less stress on your eyes, which can help you relax more.

Block Out Distractions

As a student, we are often drawn to one specific distraction: our phone. Cell phones can make a study session much less productive, especially if you get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media. If you want to have a good study environment, the phone needs to go. The simple act of muting your phone and setting it aside can allow you to have a much better study environment. Resist the urge to check it, except on scheduled study breaks and make sure you give yourself a time limit.

As you can see, there are many quick and easy ways to create a relaxing study environment. Each method is pretty simple for students to perform. If you are having a hard time being productive in your current study environment, try a few of the things we discussed here.

Steps Anyone Can Take to Feel Prepared for College Courses

College courses can be a unique challenge, especially if you’ve never taken one before. Whether you’re just out of high school and moving onto secondary education, or an adult furthering their education later in life, here are five tips you can follow to feel prepared and ace those courses!

Tip #1: Time-Management Skills

Take the time now, before you get fully immersed in the college experience, to sharpen your time-management skills. A major part of the anxiety and stress of college courses is the workload. Balancing any given class’s material with other courses’, as well as your personal life is essential. Buy a calendar and start using it. Set reminders on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. It might take a bit of refining to find what system works for you, but once you know what is due when, you’ll have a better idea for how to plan the rest of your week, month, and year. Allot yourself enough time, daily, to complete your assignments and still have personal time.

 

Tip #2: Focus on Technical Skills

Being comfortable working with technology is so important to college readiness. Find out what programs and applications your courses will be using and become familiar with them now. If you are taking an online course, you should review what programs and software might be needed for each course. You should also practice typing and making accurate searches online to reduce research time. As the lines between technology and the traditional college experience blur, this will become ever more important not only in school, but in most professions.

 

Tip #3: Establish Prerequisites

Making sure you have the necessary requirements to succeed in any given college course is a great way to feel prepared. It would be unwise to attempt a rigorous course without the building blocks needed for succeed. If you’re still in high school, this is not the time to slack off! Work hard and make sure you’re ready for the more challenging courses you’ll take. If you’re an adult and haven’t been to school for many years, make sure you’re brushing up on your core foundations as well. If you are starting a specialized course or degree, be sure you have the background and prerequisite classes ready to go.

 

Tip #4: Don’t Neglect Social Skills

Social skills, or soft skills, are how you will navigate with other people you interact with in school and in work. Being able to communicate effectively with your professors and fellow students, leadership skills, and the ability to collaborate are very important.

 

Tip #5: Take Care of Yourself

Above all else, you have to take care of yourself. Do things that make you happy, be around people that make you happy. Take necessary time to refocus on your goals after a failure or setback. Get enough sleep and give yourself the important vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy. And, be confident. You made it this far, don’t stop now.

Where Does Sexual Education Need to Catch Up?

It seems as though everyone vividly remembers how they were taught sexual education in high school. While a few may have had positive learning experiences, it seems the majority had ones that were very short-sighted in being useful. High school classrooms are always awkward for bringing up sensitive subjects, but sexual education should be one area that is thoroughly explained and taught with care. Unfortunately, sexual education and anatomy is something most public schools fail at teaching, and here’s why.

Homosexuality is Never Mentioned

In a study researching the experiences young people had in sex education, many had classes that were very science-based and technical, focusing on only relations between men and women. This leaves lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students completely out of the picture, making the material much less relevant or useful. With rising numbers of LGBT youth in America, it doesn’t make sense to exclude them from this important conversation.

Some Sexual Activities Are Not Covered

Only sexual intercourse between a male and female is ever mentioned in most high schools, and no other sexual activities are recognized in classes, some of which could even be considered “safe sex”. While a high school course shouldn’t have to cover everything, such a limited view of sex is hurting students, and making the information outdated.

Only Abstinence is Discussed as a Contraceptive

Some schools go as far as teaching abstinence as the only ‘safe’ option, failing to educate about any contraceptives at all. Not only is this teaching method proven to be ineffective, but unexpected pregnancies that occur without the right education can be far more dangerous to teens. Not only that, but many schools don’t even consider discussing unplanned pregnancies with their students, so these women aren’t taught about safe options to take in these situations, such as adoption or the few abortion centers that help young mothers with child care and family planning rather than just kill the fetus.

Desire, Pleasure, and Consent are not Mentioned

For many schools, consent in never brought up or explained adequately. Everyone sticks to the physical mechanics of sex, while emotional aspects are always left out. In a similar vein, female sexual desire is sometimes not even acknowledged. One teen girl in a 2009 U.S. study said, “I think that they depict it was the guy wants to have sex and the girl doesn’t… They don’t realize that a lot of girls want to have sex, too. And so I don’t think that they focus on that enough at all.” Most sexual education makes it seem like only men have sexual pleasure, making for a very skewed depiction of straight sexual relationships.

Schools today are falling short on the information they teach in their sexual education classes. Whatever you may have been taught could be better or worse, but it’s definitely a subject worth discussing and changing for future generations.

How to Find the Right College: Tips for Prospective Freshmen

Picking a college is a major step. The right choice can help new students on the road to academic success, which paves the way for advancement later in life. On the other hand, even a good student can struggle if they pick a college that is a poor fit for their personality and goals. Picking the right college involves looking at a variety of different factors, but there are a few broad things that every prospective student should keep in mind.

Environment Matters

Every university has its own unique culture. Some are known as party schools, while others tend more towards strict study and austerity, while some have religious components. A poor cultural fit will lead to discomfort and distraction that can cause a student’s grades to suffer. It will also ruin their social life if they can’t make friends outside of the school.

The best way for students to get a good fit is to understand their goals and the sort of environment that they like before making their choice. Visiting the school and talking with students there can also help with finding a good fit.

Consider Digital Options

Almost every college has some digital presence, but some rely much more on digital resources than others. In some cases, students can take entire classes over the Internet, or access learning tools through a digital platform rather than buying expensive textbooks. In some cases, people even get their degrees digitally. Some people thrive in that environment, while others struggle with it, so it is important for potential students to know themselves and decide if the level of digital integration in the college’s classes suits them. You can also find universities that exist only online. These courses tend to take less time and money, so this may be a good option if you want to earn your degree quickly.

Check for Courses

Students who know what they want to study should take the time to make sure that all of their potential choices offer good courses on that topic. Most schools excel in one or two areas and are only adequate in the others, so this can be an important step.

It’s also vital to check for elective courses outside of that field. Many people find their interests changing as they learn more, and picking a school with plenty of different classes offers the best opportunity to pursue emerging interests. This is especially important for people who don’t go to college with a firm study plan in mind, but it can be useful for any student.

Look for Connections

Networking is often the key to finding a job after college. In many cases, people make valuable connections at their school, either through their teachers and fellow students or networking events with graduates. It can be hard to predict where students will meet somebody valuable, but it is best to pick a school that has a reputation for graduates who find success in the student’s field of interest. Not only is that a sign of a good education, but it increases the chance that student will make connections that are valuable in that field.

The Final Choice

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when picking a college, but it’s important to power through that feeling, research as much as possible about the options, and make a rational choice based on that information. A lot of your choice depends on the individual student’s goals, so it is also important for them to think carefully about what they want to achieve while they are in college. Those who do so will often find that their choice gets much easier, and they are the ones who are most likely to be happy with their choice once they start their academic careers.

5 Test Taking Strategies You Probably Didn’t Think Of

When it comes to taking tests, everyone has a different way of preparing that works best for them. Some people spend weeks studying and some people hold a massive cram session the night before the test. It’s important to try different things to figure out what will work best for you, so here are five things that you may not have thought of that you can try to help you with your next test.

Take Plenty of Breaks

It’s tempting to sit down and study for hours or try to cram everything in at once. But no matter how dedicated you are and how great your memory is, your brain can only handle so much information at a time. To help you absorb the information better, take regular breaks from your studies. Get up, walk around, and clear your head. This won’t make you forget what you have studied, but it will help you refresh your mind and move the knowledge out of your short-term memory and into your long-term memory.

Chew a Unique Flavor of Gum or Candy

Human memory is tied most strongly to the sense of smell. An easy trick to remember what you’re studying is to choose an unusual flavor of candy or gum to eat while you are studying. When you go to take the test, have some of that gum or candy on hand to eat and jog your memory of your studies. This will take a little time to work, so start doing it a couple days before your test. If candy or gum won’t work for you, try using a perfume or essential oil that you can also use in the classroom.

Choose an Instrumental Music Playlist

Music is a powerful tool for helping your brain learn and retain knowledge, but not all music is created equally. You may love fast pump-up music, but that isn’t going to help you settle into a studying mood, and it isn’t going to help you remember anything. Research has found that music without lyrics, that includes nature sounds, and that you like but aren’t obsessed with is the best kind of music to listen to when you are trying to focus. You also want to make sure that you aren’t playing your music too loudly. Experiment with a few different kinds of music to figure out what works best for you and create a playlist that you use each time you study.

Dress Well

How you look has a direct impact on how you feel and how you feel has a direct impact on how you perform. It can be tempting to wear sweats and super comfy clothes when you are taking a test, but dressing well has actually been proven to help you test better. It’s important to dress nicely in clothes that help you feel your best. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be comfortable. Make sure you have clean clothes that fit properly. If you are wearing layers, such as an undershirt, make sure that it isn’t going to get bunched under your other clothing and create an uncomfortable situation. Taking a little extra time to make sure that you feel good is well-worth it.

Take Notes in Different Colors

Sometimes a visual cue can help your brain organize information and categorize it in ways that are easier to remember. Pick up a pack of multi-colored highlighters and then organize your study based on different color schemes. Pick one color for each type of idea, then always use that color for that idea. Eventually, your brain will associate the information with that particular idea and color, making it easier for you to remember things in larger segments.

These few simple strategies can help you remember course content and be able to improve test scores without too much pain. Get enough rest, take advantage of familiar scents or tastes, make and use a study playlist, color coordinate your notes, and make sure you look great on test day. None of these things take too much time or effort, but they can make a huge difference.

How Do I Become a Teacher? 4 Steps to Take Now

Teaching is a highly rewarding career path. If you are considering a career in education, now is the perfect time to start working to make that dream a reality. While you will still have to go to college and spend several years of study to get your teacher’s certification, there are some important things that you can do right now to figure out if this is really the path for you.

Volunteer Your Time

One of the best ways to figure out if you are going to like working in a school is to get a taste of what it is like. Most schools are looking for volunteers to help in classrooms or with tutoring. While this isn’t the exact same thing as being a teacher, it can give you a small idea of some of the things that teachers do. You can also try out various different experiences to figure out which one is best for you. For instance, you can volunteer as an assistant in an elementary classroom or you can be a teacher’s assistant for one of your periods at school. Not only will this help you get a good idea of how a school operates, it will also look good on your resume, which can help you get into a better school and a better teaching program.

Speak with Teachers

Another important step you can take is to actually talk to your teachers. No one knows more than them about how to get to where they are. They have the experience as a teacher and as your teacher in particular, so they can also help point you to the teaching positions that you are likely to enjoy. When it comes to talking with your teachers, make sure you pick the best ones to talk to. You want to find someone who will be realistic about both the good and bad parts of their job and someone who won’t discourage you from your dreams. If you are interested in teaching elementary school, go talk to teachers at your local elementary school. If you have younger siblings, try talking to their teachers. If you don’t know any of the teachers, you can ask the front office if they know any teachers who would be willing to talk to you.

Look Up Educational Classes

It’s also a good idea to look up what kinds of classes you might have to take should you decide to become a teacher. In order to enter the classroom, you will need to complete classes in specific subjects. You might have to take classes in educational psychology, teaching methods and the teaching of kids. Look through a college catalog. Many have detailed descriptions about the kind of classes they offer. You can then look up the subject matter on the internet. You might even be able to access specific course materials. Having access to this information will help prepare you for the college classes that you will be taking after you graduate.

Pick a College

When it comes to picking a university to get your teaching degree at, the most important thing that you need to look at is their accreditation and reputation. It doesn’t matter if the university is an online university or a traditional one, they need to be certified or your teaching certificate will be a huge waste. To learn more about the teaching programs at the universities you are considering, visit their website and look at what they prioritize. You can also look up their reputation and ranking on various websites.

All of these steps can help you prepare for the career in teaching you want. When you get a good overview of the profession, you’ll take your first steps towards standing in front of a classroom.

References:

Talk to a Teacher

Career: Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers

WGU Online Teaching Degree

5 Great Reasons for High School Students to Volunteer

How to Conquer Your Fear of the Freeway: Driving Tips for the Fast Lane

Freeway driving is a necessary part of driving that can be intimidating at first sight. As you drive more and explore more highways, you’ll become less fearful of the activity. Teens leaning to drive should review highway rules and practice as much as they can. Review these tips to help improve your skills for the fast lane.

Have an Experienced Driver in the Passenger Seat

Have an experienced driver accompany your trip on the freeway. A partner prevents you from making mistakes and increases your chances of driving successfully. An experienced driver in the passenger seat works as insurance in case you get into an accident as well. Be sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel before trying the freeway.

Drive at the Least Crowded Times

The most obvious tip for novices is to drive when it’s the least crowded. Choose a time and part of the highway that has the least amount of traffic. Some highways are crowded at all times, while others are less crowded on the weekends. The best way to know is to review the traffic reports and ask your parents if they know anyplace that might be good for practice.

Know Your Route

When you learn to drive, you must follow a predetermined route. New drivers cannot drive aimlessly on the freeway and take random exits or they’ll easily get lost and might increase their risk of an accident. Plus, you want to become familiar with driving on the main roads and exits you’ll usually take.

Start at Low Speeds

Start by driving at low speeds and remain on the right side of the road. Freeway accidents occur often when people change lanes too quickly or brake too late – all while going too fast. As your skills improve, drive at the same speed as other drivers. A freeway is the worst place to get into an accident because the drivers do not like to stop. The last thing you want is find a car accident lawyer just because you were trying to get some practice in.

Review Traffic Rules Beforehand

Review common freeway rules before you head out onto the road. Know the best way to merge onto the highway, remembering to signal properly and increase your speed at the right moment. Once you merge, it’s important to avoid accidents by flowing with the traffic.

On any road, drive for the safety of yourself and others. Also, get used to changing lanes and checking blind spots. At the same time, pay attention to exit signs and change into the right lane at the right moment.

Approaching the ramp is a nervous time for any new driver. However, there will be a time when approaching the ramp with ease becomes second nature. With enough practice and dedication, become a more experienced driver on the freeway.

How to Deal With High School Bullies

Dealing with high school bullies can be a big issue for teens and there are ways it can be dealt with effectively with positive results, which can put an end to bullying whether the confrontations are physical, verbal, social or internet related.

High school students who become the targets of bullies need to be equipped with the best possible strategies to stop bullying in its tracks. There are essentials in handling bullying, which include:

Basic Actions

If bullying is continuous and a teenager is dealing with it in a number of areas, including social media, school authorities and parents need to be notified immediately. In addition, records and documentation of bullying occurrences need to be maintained. Both these basic actions should be of help in constraining bullying.

Physical Confrontations

Physical bullying is obviously dangerous and teens need to have ways to deal with it without getting physically involved themselves. If a teenager is being tripped, hit, shoved, punched, kicked or worse, he or she needs to do everything possible to make it difficult for the bully to make direct bodily contact. Separating or extricating oneself from a confrontation is the best way to deal with physical bullying. The behavior must be immediately reported to a school administrator or security official. No one wants to be accused of assault, and a bully can turn the tables on their target and accuse that person of the same actions, so documentation of what actually occurred needs to be reported and recorded.

Verbal Confrontations

Verbal bullying usually involves comments that are degrading, shaming, isolating and hurtful. Bullying remarks can be challenged with assertive replies by the teen being harassed and through complaints to school authorities and parents. If a teenager is reluctant to report this kind of bullying to a teacher or principal in charge of discipline, he or she should speak with a parent, and the parent should contact the school for further action.

Social Confrontations

Social bullying usually involves teen relationships and the harm that can be inflicted through spreading rumors, destroying reputations, lying, excluding others and turning a person’s friends against them. This kind of bullying can be curtailed when instances of it are brought out in the open and the truth is exposed. Intervention can come through a school counselors, parents or the teens themselves. With open communication and set intervention guidelines, those doing the bullying lose their influence and power.

Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying through social media sites usually involves taunting or threatening a teen through e-mails, messaging or chats. The best way to avoid this type of bullying is to make online teen accounts private so others are unable to view a profile or postings to a profile. If bullying does occur, a teenager can print off a chat log or e-mail that indicates the interactions and submit it to a parent or school official. Schools are more likely to handle these issues even if the bullying occurred outside of the school grounds, particularly if it involves students enrolled in the high school.

Bullying is a concern at almost every school level, and it can be dealt with in a number of ways. High schools and other schools with zero tolerance bullying policies can immediately curtail bullying, and if there happens to be no discipline procedures for bullying, administrators, counselors, teachers and parents can establish intervention strategies on behalf of students. Students themselves should not have to be afraid to report bullying without recrimination. Bullying can be prevented with the right strategies and willingness of students to expose it.

Six Study Tips to Ace Your Next ACT

If you are planning on taking the ACT (American College Testing) for your college entrance, you’ll want to be ready ahead of time rather than going into the testing blind. Knowing the sections of the test and what is expected is important for college admission, and having a jump start is always a good idea when going from high school to college. Taking the ACT is one way to prepare for the changes that occur with higher education.

This test is divided into four mandatory sections with multiple choice questions, which include English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science tests. Also included is an optional Writing section for a total of five different sections. With these test subdivisions, it is fairly easy to structure study sessions that incorporate each area, as breakdowns for each test are given through study tips for acing the ACT. Here are six that should help.

Start Sooner than Later

Test preparation takes time and a three to six month period for study should be sufficient for most students. In order to ace the test, a full six months should probably be considered to understand the intricacies of the test as well as study for the individual sections. Learning to navigate the test(s) in general is an accomplishment in itself.

Practice Questions

To orient yourself to the kinds of questions asked on the ACT, you’ll want to actually access the practice questions and familiarize yourself with the structure, format, question types, question difficulty, and time limits involved with each test section. There are practice questions as well as preparation guides for the overall test that can be of significant help in preparing for the exam.

Understand the Structure

One of the most important aspects of the ACT is understanding how the test is structured and how to maneuver through it. As in the previous tip, you’ll want to examine how the test questions are configured in order to pinpoint the right multiple choice answers. There are, again, explanations through online guides and prep materials for this process. For example, the ACT English questions appear to be formatted in a confusing manner, and finding the immediate answer can present problems, so the fastest way to complete the answers is to skim through the reading passage to understand the content and context of the passage. From there, go back through any underlined sentences that will help determine final answers.

Eliminate the Obvious

Another effective tip with the ACT is eliminating the obviously wrong answers within any of the test divisions. You always want to look for answers that are blatantly wrong and quickly discard them. To find the correct answer, you want to be very precise about what makes the answer the right one. For example, if you are looking at questions in the English and Reading sections, you want to find evidence that supports an answer selection. The key is if you don’t find the evidence, eliminate the answer choice.

Monitor Time

This aspect of the test is critical, as certain time limits are placed on each test section. Pacing your time is important as you don’t want to linger over one question while there are easier ones to answer. Spending too much time on any question can harm your score. If you are completely puzzled or stymied over one question, move on. Answering easier questions should always take priority. If there is enough time left, go back to the tricky ones. Again, going through ACT practice questions will help you to learn how to pace yourself for each test section.

Know the Content

Within each of the test areas, there will obviously be questions that are less difficult because of the content being familiar and more easily understood. Any subject area that presents problems should be examined for weaknesses. For example, within the Math section, it would be wise to know formulas that relate to algebra and geometry as well as conversions for basic math problems that involve percentages, fractional parts, decimals, etc. The same is true of the English section that requires reading comprehension ability, grammar, and punctuation expertise. Say you’re college plans are focused on getting a degree in business management, which would mean you should probably concentrate on problem solving, critical thinking and number crunching. These general areas will likely appear in some form or fashion in the corresponding test sections.

Taking the ACT involves advanced planning and preparation, particularly if you want to ace the test and present impressive scores to a prestigious college or university, or apply for a scholarship or other higher education financing. Test anxiety and apprehension can be alleviated when the right information and tips are incorporated in an overall strategy to tackle and ace a test like the ACT.