This is advice that I always give to my students for the in-person classes that I teach. In order to excel in any subject that one is learning, it is important that you do the following:
- Go to class every day. Missing classes (whether they are in-person or online) is missing opportunities to learn!
- Do your homework. Complete the assignments that you are given. Instructors give assignments not to torture you, but to help reinforce what you learned in class. Remember, practice makes perfect.
- Practice what you've learned everywhere that you can. This is especially important for language learners. Read, write, and speak the language that you are learning at home and work. Take the extra time to make "self-assignments" and use what you know. Practice helps you progress faster.
- Keep a journal of what you learned. Learning journals are a wonderful tool as you can use them for both note-taking and motivation. Start by making a few short notes about what you learned after every class. Eventually, you will find yourself writing even more and reinforcing your knowledge on the subject. On days that you feel frustrated or feel like giving up, take a look at your journal. Notice all the things that you have accomplished and how far you have come. This helps remind you that you can do it!
- Speak positively about yourself. If you are an ESL/ESOL student, avoid saying that your English is “bad” or “not good”. Instead focus on the positive. Say things like, "I'm a student and I'm working on improving my English." For art and photography students, again, be positive. Instead of calling your work “terrible”, rephrase with statements like “I’m working on improving my photography skills. Could I please have some constructive criticism so that I can learn better?”
These are five wonderful habits to develop to improve your ability to learn and succeed in any subject. Remember you are learning and it’s ok to make mistakes and have questions—this is part of the learning process. As long as you keep trying and focus on the positives, you will learn the subject matter and grow your confidence.