How hard it is to keep students concentrated on their essay and other assignments when you can hear Christmas songs singing from every store, and everything reminds of the upcoming holidays? Late October through early January is a parade of festivities. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are not the full list of holidays that fall into this period. It seems that no one would stay focused on studies when there is so much going on. However, educators keep trying to make the impossible possible and win this battle. They come up with many creative ideas to keep students on task during the holidays, actively utilizing the Christmas theme in the learning process.
Here are several pieces of advice on how to get into study mode.
1) Try to Get as Much Done Before Christmas as Possible It is always best to think in advance and load students with the most difficult and troublesome assignments before the holiday season starts. During the break, they may complete short tasks or minor revisions.
2) Schedule and Prioritize These skills are equally necessary for both educators and students. With all the festivities going on, it is easy to forget about something that was on the agenda. Thus, it is a good idea to keep a study calendar or Google calendar to plan all studying activities in one place and encourage students to do the same. This to-do list will specify the time to be dedicated to studying.
3) Form a Studying Union Students may work better in-between the holidays if they are grouped. The likelihood that several students united by the common goal will remain focused on the task they share is much higher than if each of them is expected to work independently. Having a study buddy stimulates discussion and motivates students to work faster than they would if they just stayed at home.
4) Involve Students in Teaching As a part of teamwork, make students, whose academic record in certain disciplines is higher, tutor others who may need some special attention. This works both ways: students who play teachers repeat the material by explaining, while others comprehend the material they may have missed or misunderstood.
5) Limit Distractions or Turn Them into Studying The mastery is in integrating learning into the holiday season and not vice versa. With thorough planning, all holiday parties can be embedded into learning. Such an approach may ensure a continuous inspiration to study and perform better. Each student may have their own part to complete, which should incorporate certain practice activities. A spirit of competition between peers may benefit even more than expected and fasten the learning process.
6) Disregard Interruptions There is literally nothing teachers can do about interruptions. The holidays mean days-off, and days-off mean interruption and distraction to the studying process. However, the task is to keep learning regardless of interruptions. Develop interesting and interactive tasks that would be interrelated to keep study motivation and make students recourse to previously completed parts of the assignment.
7) Use Technologies to Track Students' Progress Technologies made studying more exciting as well as provided educators with an opportunity to track each student's participation in the learning process. Using special education platforms, teachers may assign students with tasks to be completed during the holidays and track not only the progress but also the time spent on doing this assignment. Of course, students can pay for essays online and spend less time studying, but at least they will be motivated to provide certain learning outcomes.
8) Communicate with Parents to Influence Students Educators often hold parent-teacher conferences before the holiday season starts to gain parents' support and engage them in the studying process. The school makes sure that parents are aware of the tasks assigned to students during the break. Moreover, educators encourage parents to keep to usual daily schedule even when children are not at school. They can ask their kids to read or do something that would keep them involved during the first half of the day to keep their school regime in force.
9) Develop a Sophisticated Reward System Being able to track student progress at a distance, educators motivate them with special rewards. It is always a good idea to add extra points to grades for perseverance and diligence or the biggest contribution to the teamwork. However, it should come naturally in order not to provoke unfair competition among students.
10) Do Not Push Students to Overdo It Keeping students too busy with their assignments may ruin their special time. It is Christmas after all. Make sure that your students have enough time to be with their families because occupying their spare time too much may reflect badly on their performance after the holidays.
BIO Jeff Blaylock is a college teacher and an experienced tutor. Throughout his career in Education, he developed his own algorithm to keep students dedicated to studying and learning regardless of season, time or circumstance. He highlights the importance of technologies and their potential for distance learning. In this article, Jeff specifies the ways to minimize "damage" caused by holiday breaks and interruptions to the learning outcomes and student engagement.