RECENTLY I attended the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards held in Kuala Lumpur, an event to recognise achievers across the country and the world for the Cambridge International Examinations.
I met a number of young and bright top achievers who shared some secrets to their success.
Top students brook no intrusions on study time. Once the books are opened or the computer is booted up, phone calls go unanswered, TV shows unwatched and snacks ignored. Study is business and it comes before recreation.
Among the students I spoke to, study times were strictly a matter of personal preference.
Some worked late at night when the house was quiet while others got up early. Still others studied as soon as they came home from school when the work was fresh in their minds.
All agreed, however, on the need for consistency.
The top students also took notes while reading the text assignment. They wrote notes from the text on one side and those from the teacher’s lecture on the other and were able to review both aspects of the assignment together.
Evidence showed that students need help taking notes, because they often find taking notes in class difficult.
Typically, they don’t know what they should and should not include.
Some tend to try and write everything the teacher says without really hearing and integrating it.
Note-taking is a learned skill that is rarely taught.
Together with guidance from the educators, they set realistic goals for the semester, day, week and year. As weeks go by, they become better at setting goals they are capable of achieving. They will also revise some goals on a continuous basis.
Besides the skill of listening, one of the most important skills a student must learn is to listen.
The students must listen, and listen closely, so they will not miss vital information.
Lastly, the quality of teachers, no one should forget, is closely related to the quality of students. And the quality of students means a lot to the country’s future.
The importance of good teachers is no secret. Schools and their communities have always sought out the best teachers they can get in the belief that their students’ success depends on it.
A teacher can open the door, but you still need to walk through. Don’t forgo your potential because of your insecurities.
JACK WONG KIN TUNG Ipoh The STAR Online Home Opinion Sunday 25 November 2012