This podcast explores how you can assist your student in developing time management skills while learning time is less structured and less managed by adults. Planning and reflecting strategies are offered.
Subscribe to the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast on iTunes or visit BarkleyPD.com to find new episodes.
Parent Well-Being and Student Learning During School Closures
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on education, I’ve started a new podcast grouping called Parent Well-Being and Student Learning During School Closures. The hope is that these podcasts can be forwarded on to parents by teachers, schools, and districts to help support them and in their new role with their children during this time. Feel free to send me your questions or suggestions that I can share with others. You can contact me at sbarkley@PLS3rdLearning.com. Thank you for listening.
Steve [Intro]: 00:01 Hello and welcome to the Parent Wellbeing and Student Learning During School Closures Edition of the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast. With the extended closing of schools, we as parents have entered into a new territory regarding what we have known as “school learning.” With this and future podcasts, I’ll look to share my experiences as a teacher, educator, parent, grandparent, and continuous learner.
Steve: 00:34 Throughout these podcasts for parents, I’ve looked at a focus on learning more than on teaching. My attention is on what is it that students need to do and experience to gain the desired important learning outcomes that we seek. The online task or packet assignments that the schools have supplied your students likely address the important content of literacy, math, and the other school curriculums. This imposed home study and lockdown time might be put to good use to further your child’s important soft skills often not addressed in the school curriculum. Soft skills play a critical role in college and career success. Sometimes a role more important than other components of the school curriculum. There are many lists describing important soft skills and across later podcasts I’ll address some of those. In this podcast, I’d like to focus on just one. The skill of time management. The usual school structure tends to manage learner’s time. Periods and bells during the day. Time requirements are set by adults.
Steve: 02:09 Often even for high school students, larger projects are broken into smaller parts with separate due dates on those pieces. Those structures are often critical when teachers are focused on all students making maximum content learning gains. During this school closure time, you have the opportunity to increase your child’s independence as much as possible, connected to time management. There should be more time for trial and error learning during this less adult structured time. Often family schedules are so tight with parent;’s and kid’s responsibilities and activities that parents have to play a central role in the time management issues. The homework is due the morning baseball practices from 6:00-7:30 so the homework has to get done between the time the child arrived home from school and finished before supper, which had to be done in time to leave for the practice. Often, this had a parent constantly looking over a child’s shoulder, checking on what had been accomplished since the last time that they looked.
Steve: 03:46 With children’s and parents outside activities now limited, the pressure might be less for task completion by short deadlines. This can create an opportunity for your child to plan, implement, and then assess the effectiveness of the plan that they developed. Conversations around the child’s planning and reflection on what happened are key to students learning from experiences. Look at the tasks that need to be completed with your child and discuss their thoughts on how to manage their time. With more advanced learners, those with stronger time management skills, it may mean that they simply share their planning process with you before beginning. For children developing their skills, they may need your questions to guide their planning. The younger the child, the shorter chunks you might plan at any given time. Here are some questions to help you guide that planning process. What are the different task you want to complete? Are any of the tasks harder or easier than others? Which will take more time? Which might take less time? Is there anything that you have to psych yourself up in order to do?
Steve: 05:28 Is there something that you’ll find fun while completing? Are some of the tasks more important than others? Why? What do you think you want to tackle first? How long do you want to spend on that task? Learning to estimate the time that a task will take is an important part of developing time management skills and here’s a critical question that will set up the reflection process later. What do you think you will have done in that amount of time? Another question. Will you take a break after that or do a second task? If it’s a second task, let’s go back to the questions again. How long do you plan to spend on that task? What do you want to have done at the end of that task? Again, the younger your child, the shorter these timeframes would be. Conversation afterwards guides the reflection and that reflection is important, actually critical for learning and development.
Steve: 06:55 You see, we don’t learn from our experiences. We learn from reflection on our experiences. And the role that you as parents are playing here is one of mentoring and assisting your child in doing the reflection that causes them to make the greatest learning from the experience that they just completed. Taking time to guide your child’s reflection can set up continued learning. There may be more time in these closed school days for trial and error and reflection. Here’s some questions to guide that reflection process. In your planning, you said that you wanted to do this task first for this length of time and here’s what you wanted to have accomplished during that time. Were you able to concentrate on the task that long?
Steve: 08:02 How much did you get done? What makes you think that your decision was a good idea? Is there anything that would cause you to decide something differently the next time your ongoing conversations should lead your student to continue making next decisions based on what they are discovering from their earlier choices? That’s the value of trial and error. With reflection, we all have different best ways to manage our time that work for us differently than they work for others. Learners need to discover their own. For example, does doing an easier task first builds my motivation for having something completed and I take that motivation then into the more difficult task next. Or does tackling the most challenging thing first work best for me because I’m fresh? Share a time management decision that you make. What are the questions that you ask yourself? What have you learned from previous experiences that influence how you make the current decision?
Steve: 09:33 For example, I need 90 minutes a day to complete my walking exercise, which is important for my health. Getting that into my schedule is not often easy, but very important. Experience tells me that the best time for me to plan that walk is between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. This allows my fresh time in the morning with that cup of coffee to tackle some reading, writing, thinking that I need to do. Then taking my walk and coming back later, I’m somewhat refreshed and can tackle another task. It was a substantial amount of experiences walking at different times that led to me finding what worked best for me. The questions that you pose to guide the planning and reflection conversations are critical as they are the questions that your children will learn to ask themselves. As they do, they will become increasingly independent at managing their time. A critical skill for college, career and life success. Thanks for listening.
Steve [Outro]: 11:07 Thanks again for listening. You can subscribe to Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud on iTunes and Podbean and please remember to rate and review us on iTunes. I also want to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on Twitter @stevebarkley or send me your questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.