Saturday, March 14, 2009

Concentrate? Of course, you can!

AVID students recently completed a unit of study on concentration which culminated in writing essays based on what they had learned. They had to include a definition and background on concentration, common inhibitors, common promoters, and advice on how to improve it. Here are some excerpts:

"Concentration isn't just something on the back of orange juice cartons. Concentration is the ability to focus on what is at hand, and , despite popular belief, it is a learned behavior." (Adam B.)

"Concentration is not inherited; it is a developed behavior. A person has to learn to concentrate." (Nikia S.)

"Not being able to concentrate is not hereditary. So, you can't use your mom and dad as a hereditary excuse. It is a trait that is completely and utterly learned!" (Aidan T.)

"(Concentration) is something you have to attain, and be good at, to live a successful academic life. It may take some time, but it is totally possible, once you set your mind to it." (Krystal G.)

"Another leading inhibitor is something we often have to use in order to complete homework: the Internet. As helpful as the Internet can be to our studies, programs such as MySpace, instant messenger, and e-mail can all pose a major threat to our concentration. An easy way to avoid these sites is to tell yourself you can only be on them if your work is completed." (Tayler G.)

"To help improve your concentration, you're going to have to make changes, but first you have to recognize what's keeping you from concentrating. A few of your changes could be limiting your eating, finding a quiet place, and getting help so you can stay focused and understand the work you're doing." (Elexa M.)

"Even though you may not want to do your homework, if you record your assignments and when they are due, you will have a better chance of getting them done." (Shay W.)

"Another good one is keeping your things organized, because knowing where everything is is half the battle." (Michael M.)

"Determination helps your concentration because when you want something, it seems easier to concentrate." (Leah J.)

"You might even ask yourself questions such as: What do you have to do first to start your day? Or, what shall I do first for homework, study for my upcoming exam or complete a project that's due in a month?" (Lakara S.)

"You could make a game or song about what you're doing in class so you can stay on task. Think of ways to stay on task by doing something you like." (James C.)

"The first (promoter) is competing with yourself. If you put a time limit on the work you are doing, you can race against the clock. This will help you stay focused and you can also get your work done faster." (Chynnah T.)

"I know I can improve on making sure the distractions are put away and stay away. I need to prioritize homework over personal desires. I can also improve on making my work space more organized." (Ryan L.)

"Concentrating can be difficult but try not to get distracted; practice catching yourself when you do. If you get lazy or become tired, take a little nap before you do your work. When you're in class, ask questions so you know what you're doing when you work on your homework later." (Joem B.)

All the AVID students set personal goals for improving concentration while studying this topic and then measured the result. Almost all reported improvement in this area!

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