The move to Grade 9 can feel somewhat overwhelming, but it is also the start of a new chapter in a student’s life. Many think that learning has more of a point as thoughts start to move toward what comes after school. This makes Grade 9 a critical transition point for students; it allows them to explore options without worrying about standardized tests or researching colleges. Grade 9 is also the time to put in place good study practices, ones that will take you through the remainder of your education. In this blog, I will share five top tips to help you make Grade 9 the best yet.
Tip 1: Build good relations with teachers.
Teachers are essential to any pupil’s future; they will grade the work done, including the final grades awarded at the end of their course in Grade 10 and maybe beyond. Your son or daughter might also want to ask them for academic references for summer programs and possibly when they apply to college, so forming a good relationship with them in Grade 9 is a good start.
A starting point for this should be encouraging your son or daughter to participate in class actively. Being actively engaged in the lesson will help your child remember what they are being taught, but it will also show the teacher that they are eager, which will help boost their academic reputation. Most grades have some element of subjectivity, so your teacher’s perception of a pupil can influence the grades they award. A teacher is more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to a child they know to be an engaged student who positively contributes to their lessons.
If your child is interested in a particular subject, encourage them to talk about it. For example, perhaps your son or daughter has watched a documentary or read a book related to the topic; talking to the teacher shows them that the pupil is exploring the subject beyond the curriculum and may also prompt them to suggest other material they can explore.
Teachers are busy people, but if a pupil approaches them in the right way, they will often make themselves available to help with any questions pupils might have about their studies or assignments.
Lessons often build on previous material, so if a student needs help understanding a concept, you should encourage them to address the problem with their teacher as soon as possible to avoid getting completely lost and falling behind. If they are not achieving the grades they want, try reaching out to ask your teacher what your son or daughter can do to improve. Are there particular topics they need to improve or are there additional resources that can help?
Tip 2: Good study skills
Sometimes pupils think that studying is something that should naturally happen, so helping them to understand that it is a skill that can be practiced and improved is an essential part of assisting them in making an excellent start to Grade 9.
First, ensure they have a good area to study at home. Having a place where they can sit and concentrate while doing homework is important. Encourage them to keep it tidy while making sure they have all the stationery and equipment they need to work effectively.
One of the study habits that many students struggle with is avoiding distractions. So set some ground rules about not having mobiles in the same room while working, and teach them how to stop notifications appearing on their screens whenever somebody sends a chat message. As I have already said, many young people struggle to let go of their grip on social media, even for a short time, so also make sure that they can catch up once their work is finished.
Another habit that pupils need to develop is planning, so buy them a good daily planner to record test dates, assignment due dates, study times, and fun activities like meeting with friends or an important match on television.
Taking good notes is vital for helping your son or daughter learn more effectively. Teachers have different teaching styles, so help your child experiment with different styles to find what works best for them. Louisa, at LP Tutoring, has some great suggestions about different types of note-taking on her website.
Tip 3: Evaluate Progress
Keeping abreast of how your son or daughter is getting on in school is the best way of picking up on any issues early.
Make sure you ask about school, encouraging them to share the academic aspects of their school life and the social and extracurricular side. We all know that asking a teenager how school was, is likely to result in a very non-committal answer, so try to use open questions such as ‘What was good about school today?’ In addition to talking about school also help them to evaluate and improve their study skills.
There are more formal ways to evaluate your son or daughter’s progress through reports, grades, and exams. Keep an eye open for slipping grades or notes of concern from teachers. It is usual for grades to dip during the first half of Grade 9 as students adjust to new expectations and subjects. Our experience is that grades usually go back to a more usual level before the end of the grade. If you are concerned, talk to teachers to help you understand what support or resources might help your child improve their performance.
Tip 4: Try new things
Grade 9 provides an excellent opportunity for pupils to explore, extend and deepen their career, academic and extracurricular interests. Encourage your son or daughter to sign up for extracurricular activities and clubs linked to areas they are interested in but also new to them. In doing so, you will be helping them to push their boundaries and experience things that would otherwise pass them by.
Taking part in new things is not just about the knowledge or experience they gain; it also helps them develop the soft skills and self-confidence that will help carry them into adulthood.
Tip 5: Let them fail
My final tip for parents of students going into Grade 9 is for you to take a step back so that your sons and daughters can move forward themselves. As a parent, I know how difficult it can be to watch your child face the risk of failing, but it is probably the quickest way of helping them grow.
A lot has been written and said about failure, and It’s probably a blog in itself. Helping young people to understand that it is normal to be fearful of failure but never letting failure stop them from chasing their dreams is an important lesson. In addition, those with tremendous success understand that failure is simply one of the many stepping stones to success.
Working with study abroad consultants, overseas education consultants, or, as more commonly known, college counselors, can help you plan ahead and make those high school years count. Ivy Central offers exceptional focus to help you prepare for college admissions throughout the high-schooling years. Start today!