"Knowing HOW to learn is a skill and this book will help you develop the skills you need to be a successful student."
-- Jenna M., Educational Psychology student (2014)
-- Jenna M., Educational Psychology student (2014)
*All the information below was prepared by the author and represents content in Psychological Keys to Student Success*
The Psychological Keys to Student Success
1. Beliefs & Mindset
This key helps you examine your beliefs about what it means to be knowledgeable and intelligent, as well as common beliefs such as what your classes should be like, what your profs should and shouldn't do, how to study, how to manage time, the value of education and classes, and what you think of yourself and your abilities. Your beliefs guide your actions. Are your beliefs helping you or hurting you?
"It amazes me what many teachers and schools fail to teach. Many teachers don’t come right out and tell you to consider your beliefs about education, knowledge, and learning. They frequently have you discuss your beliefs about “hot” topics such as discrimination, religion, culture, public policy, and sexual orientation. However, very few stress the importance of your personal beliefs about knowledge and learning."
This key describes how you explain what happens to you. "How you make attributions reflects your beliefs, influences your motivation, and affects your emotions. It impacts everything about your school experience from your attendance to your studying habits to your grades. Attributions affect your self-esteem, relationships, moods, expectations, and even your mental health. As such, they have great power over your experience. You need to start recognizing how you make attributions and how that influences you in school...and in life."
3. Achievement Goals & Interest
"Your beliefs and how you make attributions influence whether or not you do things like enroll in school, go to classes, study for exams, and learn from feedback. They influence your goals and how you pursue them. Goals help you focus on what you want to accomplish, give you a purpose, and help you visualize your future. They motivate you to develop skills and knowledge. Your level of interest is a motivator but it also may require a little effort on your part while in college. There are many things you can do to increase your interest and motivation, even in "boring" classes."
"Self-efficacy is psychology’s term for the confidence you have in your ability to accomplish something. It is a sense of your own competence. Confidence in school-related abilities is important to your level of achievement. It influences your thoughts, motivation, emotions, and choices. In a 2004 review, out of 9 possible factors, academic self-efficacy was the best predictor of GPA" (Robbins, S. B., Lauver, K., Le, H., Davis, D., Langley, R., and Carlstrom, A. 2004. Do psychosocial and study skill factors predict college outcomes? A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 130(2), 261).
"Essentially, metacognition is the awareness you have of your own thoughts and how helpful or hurtful your thoughts can be as you do homework, study, and complete exams."** It is an advanced thinking skill that will help make your studying more effective. In 1997 the American Psychological Association “highlighted metacognition as one of the more important factors in contributing towards effective learning."* If it is so important, why do so few teachers talk about it? Have teachers ever mentioned it to you? Until now, have you ever heard of metacognition?
**(Quotation from page 136 of Lew, M. D. N., Alwis, W. A. M., and Schmidt, H. G. 2010. Accuracy of students’ self-assessment and their beliefs about its utility. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(2), 135-156).
6. Self-regulated Learning
"Self-regulated learning is about motivating yourself, setting goals, achieving your goals, evaluating your performance, and learning from that process. You need SRL skills to make basic studying skills maximally effective. Explaining how you do in school is much less about the classes themselves or your professors and much more about your own thinking, motivation, and behavior."
7. Avoiding Thinking Errors
"Knowing about common thinking mistakes will allow you to "take steps to reduce them and become a more successful student. Psychological research shows a disturbing trend: we believe that we know more than we actually do." It is important that you accurately assess "your own knowledge and skills. Overestimating your abilities can lead you to underestimate your learning and studying needs. For example, overconfidence in what you know can lead you to not plan enough studying time. The result can be studying less and, therefore, achieving at a lower level than you expected."
"Considering your own cultural background, how does attending school help you survive, pursue happiness, and derive meaning from life? Aren’t you looking to improve your life by going to college? What do you believe about college and its purpose? What is the meaning of education? What does it mean to be educated and intelligent? I hope you are recognizing that all of these questions address your beliefs, the first PK2SS."
"There is a clear Western bias in our discussion with respect to our motivations, goals, and attributions. Generally speaking (and bluntly speaking), this bias is ME ME ME. What do I want? How am I special/unique? What grade did I get? What job do I want? How much money do I want to make and what things can I buy with that money? What makes ME happy? In my opinion, these questions are not the problem. The problem shows up when we fail to consider that there are many points-of-view when answering these questions."