Transition to High School – Part 3 – Being a good student



Here is a presentation we held at St. Clements Catholic School for students and parents discussing the transition to high school. For a transcript please read here

The importance of being a good student okay. What does it men to be smart? I will tell you a story of my daughter, now think it out. My daughter is in grade three and they do spelling tests, I’m sure you all remember doing spelling tests there. They introduced a bunch of words at the beginning of the week on Monday, and then they have a whole bunch of worksheets that they work through, through the week using the words and puzzles and different exercises and so on. And they get to Friday and they have a spelling test. My daughter, what they have control of, because of these sheets, they have control of what grade level they are doing and so on. So my, if they’re doing really well they pump it up to keep the challenge right to sort of pump it out.

My daughter in grade 3 does the spelling work of the grade 5 students, in fact my daughter who is in grade 4 also is doing grade 5 and my younger was a week ahead [indiscernible] [00:00:50]. So she’s done these worksheets now, what am I to assume that wow, you got a smart daughter. And you might go and, you might qualify and say well you know what maybe your daughter is just really good at spelling, and natural spelling. And would certainly the evidence like, who said, I like to think of it that way but certainly think of now it’s must become a natural ability sort of genetic a Jean Paul, I don’t mind, I don’t mind taking entirely credit for that, but the challenge that the reality is this, my daughter she does her worksheets through the week.

On Thursday, Thursday night I’ll say you get that assessment report she said yes and so prepare this, this test, so I’ll take her list of words, there are 18 of them, and I’ll read them to her and she will write out her best, and first try she usually gets six. What I do is I don’t correct it for her, I give her the words back to her, she then corrects her own work, she goes through finds out what she gets right and writes down the ones that she gets wrong.

She then reviews that, gives it back to me and we do it again and again, and we do it usually three times on a Thursday night and maybe Friday morning we’ll do it one more time, and she will walk into class with a 16, 17 or 18. Now my daughter is a brilliant speller okay. There are some weeks, I’m busy I am not home and not around we forget or whatever and we don’t do that exercise, and that’s the week my daughter comes home and says, I got eight, right, which is, and I almost feel as good about the eight, as I do about the 17, because I know there is a direct correlation, she knows, she is learning that there is a correlation between what she does and the results that she gets.

Well what about that, what about the students who, and so I know they are in their class who don’t do the study on Thursday night okay, they’ll look it over and they [indiscernible] [00:02:42] are those students smart? Well the idea of smart, there’s lots of definitions to it and one of the best definitions I’ve come across or whatever are also definition for kids in this class. But the idea that, really what it is, is a bunch of natural abilities, they are very specific to the task at a particular time, right. At that particular moment, at that particular time, my daughter or this student here, the student who just breezes through it, there’s a lots of reasons for that they probably got a good memory and maybe have done lots of reading and they words they use are pretty common words, which become of us quite often.

May be phonetically they got a really good detection of the word sound and how they would put that together, whatever it is they have some sort of natural strengths which allows them to be successful at that particular task at this particular level. Difficulty, what happens, and I think we all agree that being an exceptional speller in grade 3 is not really a strong indicator to how well or how strong a speller you are going to be in grade 10 or grade 11 chemistry, this is a little bit different right. But what we have happening here is that the seeds are being planted for the student, I am smart, I’m a grate scholar, knowing how to study. So we are supposed to have studied, not me because I’m smart, the dumb ones they have to study really hard, right.

And this is where those kind of, the ideas start to be implanted, any idea that being a good speller in grade 3 the words will get heard, by the time of the transition to high school grade 9 is going to be harder than grade 10 or grade 8 and grade 9 and grade 8, grade 10 is harder than grade 9 but 11 is harder than grade 10, grade 12 is way harder than grade 11 and university it’s again. So this idea of smart becomes less and less relevant as time goes on, it becomes more and more important to being a good student and that’s it.

When we talk about where the marks go, who gets the good marks, probably your experience so far with the students has been, sort of gets good marks alright. And that might be to a point it might be some natural abilities they have, you got a good memory you can stay focused in class, you’re going to kick a K through six. Just about to it, not a lot of detail right, still not mentally right there with them, it changes when you get to high school right. In high school the marks don’t go to the smart kids, the marks go to the good students alright. Two students sitting beside each other, similar to my daughters experience, but fast-forward, one student who has studied and one student who has not, one of those student is going to do well at the tests and one of them is not, and has nothing to do with her natural ability, it will be entirely a do with who put the time in effectively to attain those marks.

And students get stuck in the idea and parents also guilty, get stuck in the idea that I’m smart, what smart gets good marks and in the high school they don’t reward smart they reward good students, they reward organized student, they reward those who study, who take notes, who know how to read effectively these areas. When universities look for students they are not looking for smart kids, they are looking for good students, the amount of information that you have to absorb or meant at the time get the managing university. Your own schedule your own courses, the amount of information that you have to, the copious amounts of reading and digesting it and to set up notes and understanding, writing these huge essays and expressing yourself in complex ideas and writing these big exams where 60% of your marks.

Till they do that, it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start to read, I was traveling and working [indiscernible] [00:06:43] all these things. To accomplish those things you have to be a good student, and so that’s what we’re looking for, they don’t, they look at a student he’s got a grade 12, he’s got an average of 85% they know that kid must have done his work, he had to. To get 85% in high school you know, they need to have developed skills. You’re getting 65 or 70 and they’ll be saying 65 or 70 at high school what do you have, what are doing? You didn’t work and do what you’re supposed to do, and you shouldn’t have marks like that. And so that’s why where the top marks go, they don’t go to smart but they go to the good students….


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