Supporting Students to Study Successfully
Deciding to go to University or Further Education is a big step and a serious commitment. It does not matter if you have just left school (and are worried about the transition to supporting yourself), a working parent (concerned about structuring work around study and home) or a professional wishing to enhance your career, the step into study can feel daunting. For some, despite its overriding intention, lifelong learning can be distressing.
The challenges and pressures are many fold including how to pay fees or if funded by an employer, the pressure that may come from not passing examinations. There will also be pressures to find, not just the work/life balance, but the work/life/study balance.
This is because the study itself may be very different to anything that the individual has experienced in the past. Most new students have come from a situation of having their learning prepared and presented to them. When they step into the tertiary environment they will be required to take far more responsibility for their learning and study.
Ordinarily having this kind of control and autonomy would be enabling, yet the student will need to be shown how study in the adult way. It is vital that this skill is gained quickly and effectively to ensure that they do not experience failure that becomes so emotionally overpowering that they are unable to cope – and if they do, there should be the help available to support them through it. Learning lifelong self-support is equally as valid.
This kind of support, in alignment with the Human Givens model of emotional health, needs to both provide the opportunity to be a part of the study community, their peers and faculty, but also to have the appropriate time and space to be alone, to study and reflect. This becomes even more powerful if the student is shown how it is important to feel stretched, but not strained by their learning objectives. Peer and faculty support is vital in keeping this dynamic in suitable check and balance.
One of the successful ways to achieve this, which a Human Givens Therapist will teach, is to learn about how the emotional brain works and how to harness its phenomenal learning abilities to be focused and successful. Part of that process includes learning how to be calm and use the body’s innate human resources to keep motivated, with a clear intention and focussed attention. In combination these attributes are sometimes referred to as ‘willpower’.
Many Universities and tertiary colleges provide pastoral care and support for many practical issues, but may not have sufficient resources to provide the simple training described above. If not it is not difficult to find the support outside of the formal environment, which can and should also include a focus on building the necessary work/life/study balance and ways to approach study that use the innate human resources. It should also include how to prepare calmly for exams.
This approach will ensure that lifelong learning continues to be exactly that.
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Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
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