Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ten tips on how to be an "A" student by Jan Lind-Sherman

 Jan Lind-Sherman wrote on teacherslogon.blogspot.com about her experience returning to school after 50 years to take Spanish and piano classes at Edmonds Community College. In her first post, "School Days, School Daze," she compared her recent experience with her memories of 50 years ago at the University of Washington. She gave EdmondsSphere permission to repost her "Ten Tips on How to be an "A" Student." Here they are:
"College is like a fountain of knowledge — and the students are there to drink” — anonymous
Back in college after fifty years - what an eye opener! Two months ago, on April 10 to be exact, I shared with you my first impressions about returning to college where I was taking ten credits of Spanish and piano. Why go? I did this because I'd procrastinated in renewing my teaching credential and needed fifteen credits by early next year. I decided to bite the bullet and get them out of the way as quickly as possible - thus I became an Edmonds Community College daytime student.

Much has changed since 1959, especially regarding technology, but one thing remains constant: Student behavior and study habits. As it was then, it is now. Grade books will tells us that a small percentage of students will get A, more will get B, most will get C, and going down the curve, fewer will get D or F.

I think I am heading for an "A " in Spanish. My classmate, Cathleen, is doing likewise. We had some thoughts as to why:
  1. The Big One: If the teacher tells you to do something a certain way, DO IT!!! It matters not if you think you have a better or easier way. If he or she gives you a sample or model to follow, do so.
  2. Take complete notes. BE SURE YOU CAN READ YOUR OWN HANDWRITING. If necessary, bring a tape recorder and tape the lecture. This is particularly helpful if you can't write as fast as the instructor speaks.
  3. Participate in the classroom by raising your hand and contributing. It shows you are listening.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask questions. This also shows you are listening.
  5. Attend on a regular basis. If you must be absent, inform the teacher ahead of time verbally or by e-mail and find someone in the class to take notes for you.
  6. Study as you go. Forget cramming. It is neither useful nor helpful in the long term. We had so much thrown at us in Spanish that, by necessity I had to cram. I have to go back and re-learn a lot if I want Spanish to be useful to me.
  7. If the instructor offers you optional extra credit opportunities to add to your grade, do not "blow them off" but take advantage of this gift. In our case we would get 15 points for engaging in three cultural opportunities followed by brief written reports: (a) Eating in a bona fide Mexican, Central American, Caribbean or Spanish restaurant, (b) watching a Spanish speaking movie (with English subtitles), and (c) attending one multicultural event. (Our family dined at the Buenos Aires restaurant in downtown Seattle. I attended the Cinco De Mayo celebration on campus. I saw the Spanish movie Volver with Penelope Cruz, also on campus, in the Black Box Theater.) Not only did I get 15 points towards my grade, I learned a lot and had a great time doing it. I would have done none of those things without the strong suggestion of the teacher. I might add here, though, that his strong suggestion made "optional" feel like "mandatory" .
  8. Do NOT cheat. If the teacher doesn't notice it, you can be sure your classmates will. Someone is sure to "narc" on you to your extreme detriment.
  9. DO NOT FALL ASLEEP IN CLASS. If a father of three, who has worked a graveyard shift can come to class, participate, take notes, and look alive, then certainly a younger student whose only excuse is too much partying, TV or gaming can do the same.
  10. Study a little every day, do all work, hand it in on time, and be accountable. You will get your A.
To put it all in perspective, remember why you are in school. If your parents are paying for your education you can show respect by doing your best while you try to figure what you want to do with your life. If you are paying for your education, it stands to reason that you will want to do well. We often value more that which we pay for, whether a toy, car, house or our education.

Remember also that how you do in each class has a cumulative effect on your transcript, and how easy or difficult it will be to transfer to a school with stringent entry requirements. A couple of students in my class want to go to the UW nursing school. Grades matter and you won't get in without good ones.

Don't just take up space because you can't think of anything else to do. It's not really fair to those who want entry, but can't get in because classes are full. That happened in our class. Several were on the waiting list, but the deadline passed and by then it was too late. In the meantime, several students dropped out because it got too hard. Too bad they weren't motivated to keep going, and didn't have the study habits to make it happen.

Cathleen and I spent a few minutes thinking about our mutual work ethic and why getting an "A" in class was important to us. It undoubtedly has to do with the way we were raised and the experiences we had that drive our desire to do well. But we both agreed on this: Anyone can do well in class if they follow a few simple guidelines. Try it. You might like the results.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ten tips on how to be an "A" student

Jan Lind-Sherman writes on her blog Teachers Log On To Mrs. Lind-Sherman about her experience returning to school after 50 years to take Spanish and Piano classes at Edmonds Community College. She took the classes to renew her teaching credential. In her first post "School Days, School Daze," she starts out circling the parking lots and then begins her Spanish 100 class and compares today's classroom with her memories of 50 years ago at the University of Washington.

She later offers her "Ten Tips on How to Be an "A" Student." Her tips include: Take complete notes; participate in the classroom by raising your hand and contributing; and do not be afraid to ask questions.

Good advice? What are your tips for A students? If you are returning to school, what's changed since you were last in college?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Look for him on campus: Wrestling champ St. Marie to join Soundsation

According to The Herald, you might expect to find incoming student Josh St. Marie in Seaview Gym — he's the state's 3A state wrestling champion — but you can also find him in Mill Creek Hall. He plans to join the college's select vocal jazz choir, Soundsation. Josh, a graduate of Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, was mentioned in The Herald's AquaSox notebook after he sang the national anthem at a game in July.