Teaching is a great experience because you have the opportunity to make an impact on students’ academic careers and encourage them to succeed when they study smarter not harder. Seeing improvement, however, can be a struggle. Students are always told that if they study hard, they’ll see results. But is that all there is to it?
When we first started Tutelage Academy, our goal was not to simply give our students work to do. Our main mission was to create a smarter way of teaching. People can put in hours and hours of work but see minimal results if they are studying inefficiently.
Our method has resulted in our students scoring in the top 8% in the nation in the SAT and an average increase of 21% on their scores. A study showed that undergraduates scored 29 to 63 percentage points higher on tests when they use active study techniques. This means that those students were studying with a purpose rather than simply re-reading material four times without much thought, and disproves that the notion of simply “studying hard” will get results.
So how exactly does one study smarter? The answer is deliberate practice, which is outlined below.
- State the problem
- Analyze the problem
- State possible solutions
- Choose best solution
- Implement best solution
- Monitor Progress
In order to achieve goals, people need to work purposefully. What exactly is deliberate practice doing? It allows the individual to scrutinize his or herself and to be aware of his or her weaknesses. Once those weaknesses are identified; the person has something to work on.
Many students take practice tests, whether it’s for the SAT, AP Exams, or just a regular school test but do not see their scores improve. This can understandably lead to frustration. Test taking itself is not what improves scores. What does improve scores is figuring out where the weaknesses are and knowing how to address those weaknesses.
This is why specific goals are needed when it comes to studying. Many kids aim for vague goals, such as getting higher scores and doing work relentlessly. These are not bad goals, but the primary focus should be on developing smaller skills and better personal habits. Every student has different strengths and weaknesses, however, through deliberate practice, anybody can be successful.
Benefits of learning to study smarter
We believe that this strategy cannot only be applied to education, but to the real world as well. Good work habits are going to be needed beyond the classroom, so we feel that it is important to develop those good skills. Education should not simply be about transferring information to the student. Our method trains our students to apply the same ideas to many challenges they will face when they become adults.
We found that students work best in small classroom settings with only a couple of other students. This way, each student gets the individualized attention he or she needs to address their weaknesses in a personalized manner but at the same time has the opportunity to feel challenged and motivated by their peers. It creates the perfect balance to have the opportunity to be successful.
Benefits of a smarter way of teaching
Students also need to feel comfortable when they work. This means the teacher or instructor must be able to get along with his or her students. At Tutelage, we make sure that our instructors have this ability and care about their students. Our student centric classrooms outperform teacher centric classrooms by 24%. We have seen many kids in settings where students are given worksheets in a dull environment and do not seem involved with their progress. Those students tend to not see the results they are striving for. Learning should be an enjoyable experience, and we strive to do everything to make sure that is the case for our students.
Teaching can be a challenge, but it can be a rewarding experience. We have confidence that we can lead students to success by having them in the right environment and studying efficiently using deliberate practice. Time and effort are needed to be successful, but are never the end-all be-all. With us, anybody can be successful.
Read more about how to study smarter
Jonathan Song is Operations Development Manager with Tutelage. He graduated from the Lovett School with honors in 2013. He excelled in Mathematics, missing only one math question on the SAT. He is currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is pursuing majors in Statistics and Economics. He has taken a diverse array of subjects ranging from Philosophy of Ethics to Programming with Java. He is well known for teaching students to study smarter not harder