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Expert tips for making peer learning part of your child's academic success

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Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Mon Aug 4, 2014.

(BPT) - As students young and old head back to school, attention turns to getting good grades. Smart parents know that positive study habits boost success in the classroom, but finding ways to encourage kids academically can be difficult. A growing body of evidence proves peer learning and study groups are main drivers for academic success.

“Parents want children to succeed across all academic facets. Peer tutoring, a teaching strategy used regularly in classrooms, has been found by research to optimize student performance in all academic areas,” says Dr. Michele Borba, an internationally recognized expert and author on children, teens, parenting, bullying and moral development.

“Not only does it boost achievement, but it also helps students learn critical life skills like communication, goal-setting, teamwork, cooperation and more,” says Borba. “For today’s tech-savvy generation, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to boost face-to-face time and it’s a fun way for kids to stay connected with peers as well as meet new friends.”

According to the National Education Association, “Peer tutoring is a beneficial way for students to learn from each other in the classroom. While one student may excel in math, another student may be top-notch in English. These two students can work together to help each other understand difficult concepts, while deepening their own knowledge of the subject.”

Borba explains that having a study buddy can change the dynamic of homework and study time. For the overscheduled child, the procrastinator or the one who hates homework, parents often find themselves nagging less when children encourage each other and learn together.

Borba suggests five tips for adopting peer learning, encouraging positive study habits and positioning kids for academic success:

Find a buddy

Encourage students to find a classmate to exchange phone numbers and emails with should they be absent or miss a lesson. In this case, modern forms of communication like text messaging and emails are an acceptable way to ask for help.

Stay organized

Cooperative group work promotes creativity and teamwork. Offer helpful tools like products from the Post-it Study collection to help make time spent working more effective. The Post-it Study Notebook Kit attaches inside back covers of text books, notebooks or planners and folds out allowing for easy access to notes and flags while studying. Students can also use note tabs to write down key facts and information from textbooks and then remove the notes from the book to use them as study cards while reviewing for a test.

Reduce stress factors

Social situations at school, tests and academic concerns, and worries about the future are just some sources of anxiety for teens. You can help your child work through this stress by teaching coping skills, healthy study habits and good social skills that can carry them through future stages of life.

Encourage peer study

Peer interaction can help reduce stress, so encourage your child to interact with others in a positive way. For example, students can create study groups and communicate with one another about tests, assignments, group projects and more. Use Post-it Study products to make time spent together efficient and fun. Students can write down questions and key facts that are guaranteed to be on the test on Post-it Study Notes and rotate them amongst the group to test one another. Building relationships can make school work more enjoyable and the school a safer environment.

Find a mentor

Parents play a key role in a child’s healthy development academically and beyond, but it’s also important for kids to have role models outside the household. Consider matching kids with mentors who are a social and academic fit. Ask your school guidance counselor for a tutor who is slightly older, as students often look up to those who are a peer group ahead of them.

For more information and additional study tips from Dr. Michele Borba, visit www.post-it.com/study.

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