Anything, and I mean literally anything, is preferable to revision which fulfils not one of a young person’s needs for novelty, excitement and immediate reward.
We all know that failing to prepare equals preparing to fail but there is often a big gap between knowing and doing. It is called resistance and it is one of the most subtle ways we self sabotage.
Think about it, have you ever really wanted to do or achieve something but always found an excuse for not doing it? Are you someone who puts in loads of effort at the beginning but then tails off and finishes poorly thereby sabotaging the whole? Perhaps you are someone who is so afraid of an outcome not being perfect that you don’t start? Or maybe you have spent so long living up to the expectations of others that you need to self sabotage so that you can get off their pedestal and breathe freely again?
Our kids will have all the same unconscious processes at work so if they are struggling to get down to revision it is worth exploring their resistance with them. What are they afraid of and what can you do to help them overcome it?
Perhaps they are self sabotaging by overwhelming themselves. They set out to do three hours revision but when they actually sit down to start, they can’t. At the end of the morning they have achieved a tiny proportion of what they set out to do and they feel disheartened and panicked.
They need to learn to break things down into manageable chunks. Create a revision timetable but make it realistic by dividing the day into three parts – morning, afternoon and evening one of which must be kept free for doing something they enjoy. Some people are larks and others are owls – they need to work out when they are likely to be most productive and build their schedule around it. Recognise that what might work for you won’t always work for them so let them take ownership.
If an hour’s revision seems too hard encourage them to break it down into three twenty minute sessions with a short break between each one.
Some people work better with background music and others need total silence but I would argue that no-one works well with a phone pinging social media alerts every five seconds.
They also need to learn to prioritise. Right now many will be more interested in their social lives than their studies. They need opportunities to socialise but keep these low key – a big Saturday party can impact on their ability to study effectively for several days.
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