Developing Good Work Habits

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During the early school years, students must begin to develop good work habits including preparing for schoolwork, organizing time and effort, and developing effective study skills. As students continue into middle school and high school their success depends, to a large degree, on refining and sustaining these work habits. Time management, organizational skills, and efficient study skills become especially important by this stage. Students who are able to develop and maintain good work habits are in a position to succeed – to learn what needs to be learned, and to become confident students. Getting started on assignments in school and at home requires students to engage their attentional abilities. Students must be alert to the task at hand, possibly shifting focus to a new activity, and have the mental effort necessary to initiate the task. Students who are able to preview, or think about the outcomes of a task before beginning, are helped in many ways. They can have an idea of what a report will be like once a topic is selected, what materials will be necessary to do an assignment, etc. In addition, students who have a strong sense of "step-wisdom" – knowing how tasks or activities can be broken down into a series of steps, will be able to determine the first step needed to get started on an assignment. There is an optimal rate for accomplishing most tasks. A competent student is often a well-paced student, performing at a rate appropriate to the task and available time. Taking the appropriate amount of time for a task is largely dependent upon both a student’s temporal-sequential skills and his/her attentional abilities. Temporal-sequential skills help us interpret, retain, or create information that is in serial order. These skills are related to a student’s ability to appreciate time in general and estimate time appropriately. Tempo control (a facet of attention) helps students regulate the allocation of time to the task at hand, and predict the time...
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