This week, I want to draw your attention to the opportunity we are providing for our girls to create and participate in regular study groups.
At present, Study Groups are running:
- Year 11 and 12s on Tuesdays from 3.15–5.15pm,
- our Year 9s and 10s on Thursdays from 3.15-5.15pm.
- Year 8 Study groups begin this week (this will be a more targeted and slower roll-out).
Many girls - particularly from Years 11, 10, and 9 - have already taken up the challenge and created their groups. They have already begun to experience the benefits of being in such a group, and are developing excellent skills and knowledge through their discussions, sharing, peer reviewing, brainstorming, and focused time together. I have had contact from several girls and parents about the timing of these sessions and, as such, I will propose a more flexible model as we move forward. I have already offered, to some girls, the opportunity to come on either of these afternoons – depending on suitability. This means, however, that the girls must form their own groups and have three or more girls interested in attending, then come along with goals and purpose on either Tuesday or Thursday, whichever is most suitable. I will include this information in notices, as well as discussing it next week on assembly.
With our focus on Raising the Bar, one of my goals is to encourage more of our young women to engage with each other and focus on their studies through a variety of methods. We recognise that our girls are highly capable and, when they openly discuss the subjects that they undertake and acknowledge their strengths in these, they can develop greater confidence in themselves. This undoubtedly leads to greater success.
I know that you will support this opportunity and encourage your daughter to 'have a go'. We will be there to guide her through the process.
I include a list of benefits of Study Groups reinforced by a wide range of readings and research:
1. Support: When students work together in groups toward common goals of learning they can provide encouragement to each other to keep motivated toward the goals. It can be a positive and enjoyable experience.
2. Commitment: As each member of a study group commits to participate fully in the group, students tend to stay up to date with class assignments and this helps to be well prepared for quizzes and tests without cramming, as well completing assignments in a timely manner. Being part of a study group helps to avoid procrastination.
3. Discussions and Communication: Study groups can help our girls to develop as a student, person, and, ultimately, professional. Study groups encourage members to think creatively and build strong communication skills which also help in refining understanding of the material. It has been proven that those who participate in study groups feel more confident and comfortable about reaching their academic goals. Overall, study groups are excellent practice in preparation for the work world.
4. 'Two Heads are Better than One.'
- Students tend to learn faster working within a group versus working alone.
- Since everyone has individual talents and unique insights, group members can learn from each other. Group members can also teach confusing concepts they understand to other group members.
- Working in groups makes it possible to focus on more concepts since multiple people can review more material than just one.
- One or more group members are likely to understand something you do not. They may bring up ideas you never considered.
5. Learn New Study Habits/Skills: There are always ways to enhance your studying methods/ techniques in your study skills. Being part of a study group provides the opportunity to observe a wide variety of study methods and incorporate them into your regimen. Note-taking and organisation skills are two major study components that continue to be improved through study groups.
6. Compare Class Notes: You can compare your class notes with those of the other group members to clarify important concepts and fill in any gaps.
7. Teaching Concepts to the Other Group Members - Teaching/explaining information and concepts to the other group members will help you reinforce your mastery of the information and concepts.
8. Interaction, Enjoyable Learning: Studying with a group is a great way to liven up your study sessions. It can be very monotonous and draining to spend long hours alone somewhere. Joining a study group and studying in a group environment makes learning much more fulfilling and enjoyable.
9. Different Perspectives: Each group member has different qualities/ideas to offer to the study group. Studying by yourself will always get you one perspective; yet, in groups, you may receive various viewpoints which can assist in helping you reach your own conclusions. Listening and asking questions will provide more food for thought while developing your critical skills.
10. Other Benefits
- You may be reluctant to ask a question in class. You will find it easier to do so in a small study group and eventually in the classroom.
- Listening and discussing add a strong auditory dimension to your learning experience.
- Being in a study group with motivated classmates is often helpful to reduce test anxiety.
We ask the girls to do the following when attending Study Group Sessions:
- Create clear objectives and goals
Prior to each session, group members should discuss what they hope to achieve, so the session is productive and stays on track.
- Be prepared
Group study can be very ineffective if individual members come unprepared for sessions. Each member of the study group could review notes, complete select questions from the textbook, identify specific subjects to study, have drafts ready, bring scaffolds, have equipment necessary, etc.
- Ensure participation
Every member of a study group should actively participate. A great way for each member to contribute is to assign specific topics and have each member instruct the group. Teaching is a great way for individuals to retain information.
- Stay focused
Before each session, someone can be assigned to facilitate it (but this doesn’t have to be the case). The person charged with leading a session helps to ensure it is productive, it stays on track, and all necessary material is covered.
Educationcorner, (2019). Using Study Groups., Retrieved from https://www.educationcorner.com/study-groups.html
Yavapai College, (2018)., 10+ Benefits of Study Groups, Retrieved from https://www.yc.edu/v5content/learning-center/docs/Study%20Group%20-%20Student%20-%20Benefits.pdf