Goal: Have your students practice writing and self-reflection while critically thinking about their study skills and how they could be improved.
Directions: Ask students to answer one or more of the following reflection questions in their journals. For the purposes of this activity, we've provided examples of reflection prompts that focus on different topics and study skills. You may choose to collect these reflection prompts and count them as an in-class or homework assignment, or you may have students hold onto them and use them as a springboard for discussion in a group or class discussion.
Thinking in Class:
Do you tend to daydream or fall asleep in class? Why do you think that happens? Does your level of alertness depend on the class, the environment, the number of people in the class, the topics being discussed, the temperature of the room, the time of day, distracting electronic devices, or something else?
What helps you stay alert and awake during class? If you haven’t tried any of the methods discussed in this chapter, what do you think might help you stay more engaged and concentrate more fully?
What note-taking styles are a good fit for you? Why do you think they work? Does it depend on the class? Have you ever added your reaction, analysis, or questions to your notes? Which note-taking format might help you incorporate this type of critical thinking into your notes?
Do you read over your notes either right after class or later that day? If not, when do you think you could fit this five-to-ten-minute review into your day?
Reading: Do you take notes while you read? If so, what do you take notes on? If you highlight, what do you highlight? Do you find that you highlight most of your reading, or do you have a particular purpose for your highlighting? Can you think of ways to increase your critical thinking while you take notes?
What do you do when you struggle to finish a reading or to understand a reading? When you have questions, how do you get answers? Have you considered visiting your instructor during office hours or talking to someone at an academic support office?
How do you prepare for tests? How many days do you study? When do you study? Do you usually cram the night before a test? How have you performed on tests in each of your classes?
What do you usually do the night before a test? How about the day of a test? Do you feel calm or stressed? If you feel stressed, can you think of things that might help reduce this anxiety?
Do you struggle with knowing when and when not to cite? What is confusing for you? Can you think of a recent example? Do you know where to find a citation guide so that you can learn how to cite properly and thoroughly?
This activity has been adapted from several "Journal Reflections" activities in the Instructor's Manual of The Pocket Guide to College Success by Jamie Shushan. For more on this Instructor's Manual and how you can use it in the classroom, check out Jamie's blog here, or look for the Instructor's Manual on our catalog page at macmillanlearning.com.