Yesterday’s post from Brian introduced the topic of soft skills. As our college considers an initiative to enhance the transfer of these skills from the classroom to the workplace, we’re encouraged to think about ways that we are already helping our students acquire some of the abilities on our local industries’ wish lists for employee attributes. Responsibility and its first cousin, time management, are prized attributes of students and employees. But how do we coach these as we teach math or science or writing?
Many of my students profess a desire to do well, yet have trouble reaching their goals. Often, the culprit is procrastination. From family responsibilities to jobs to video games and TV, their lives are full of “time sucks.” Apart from parental-style nagging, which is just as ineffective for students as it was for my own kids, how do we encourage the “do-it-now” spirit?
A recent web article from Justin Caba of Medical Daily offers help in his post: “Stop Wasting Time: 4 Tools for Overcoming Procrastination.” In explaining the third tool, organization, Caba advises:
“As we get more organized, it becomes easier to see what procrastination is really costing us. Part of staying organized means figuring out the amount of time we have to complete a task and what wasting time will mean for accomplishing our goals. When we lose sight of organization, procrastination begins to rear its ugly head because we lose sight of what’s important. Staying organized also means creating a to-do list and a schedule for completing minor tasks.”
By creating a schedule for the class, assigning regular out-of-class work, and requiring frequent assessments, we can impress upon our students the value of keeping up and the effectiveness of tackling a big job as a series of small, disciplined steps. We need to remember the importance of modeling the behaviors we hope to see by returning graded work promptly and adhering to the schedules we set. No magic, just common sense and gumption.
Caba’s post also featured this video from Asap SCIENCE: