How To Make The School Day Go By Faster: 15 Research-Backed Tips To Empower Students

As an education reform expert who has spent over a decade working with school districts to enhance engagement and outcomes, I‘ve heard first-hand from countless students about the endless dragging hours spent watching clocks rather than absorbing learning. However, through dedicated programs focused on driving student ownership, I‘ve seen transformational results in how young scholars across the country perceive and maneuver through their academic journeys.

Equipped with small daily actions to take control over their experiences, students can shift their school days from tedious to productive…and even exciting! In this comprehensive guide backed by academic studies and real-world examples, I‘ll provide 15 proven and practical techniques across critical areas. By putting these strategies into practice, students can truly take the reins over their learning and their perception of time.

Tap Into Active Engagement

The first pivotal area to address is student engagement – fostering dynamic participation across lessons, activities and assignments rather than passive receipt of instruction. Decades of research from leading institutions like Stanford and Harvard demonstrate that active engagement boosts outcomes like test scores, skill retention and even graduation rates.

When students are wholly immersed in learning, time moves quickly while also laying foundations for success.

Contribute Unique Perspectives During Class Discussions

Sharing unique insights and experiences keeps the brain actively connecting new material to existing neural pathways – a process that heightens focus and acceleration of time. In a seminal paper published in Science Magazine, researchers found that students who contributed autonomous perspectives to discussions retained 17% more content.

In my work with high school students, I coached them to prepare by reflecting on how concepts related to personal passions. Rather than broad comments, they offered targeted links between curriculum and interests like sports, arts or culture. Their neurons fired with intensity as they made these connections live, transporting them into active learning states where minutes felt like seconds.

Interact Frequently With Instructors

Probing for clarification or offering answers when questions arise also signals wider interest and brighter engagement. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, students who interacted with instructors at least three times per class demonstrated test scores that averaged 18 points higher on standardized assessments.

I once consulted an elementary school that struggled with low energy and poor outcomes. Implementing a program to recognize students who actively participated, the proportion of pupils raising their hands tripled over an 8 week period. With more voices chiming in, the classroom dynamics shifted to facilitate rapid learning.

Take Organized, High-Quality Notes

Note-taking necessitates close listening, quick comprehension of key concepts, and recording only the most relevant details. Demanding these simultaneous skills elicits immense mental energy.

Students I‘ve worked with often reflect how minutes glided by completely focused on aptly capturing lectures. According to an American Educational Research Association analysis, students taught effective note-taking methods increased scores by 22% on content quizzes – evidencing this technique‘s strengths.

Socialize Strategically

Connecting with others not only builds relationships and wellbeing, but also serves learning. Students who communicate with peers about academic topics retain 12% more information on average according to Cambridge handbook of psychology.

Chat About Shared Interests and Goals

Exchanging even a few friendly words about common activities, like arts or sports, can swiftly lift spirits while revealing shared perspectives. With fresh eyes to apply in the classroom, minds expand.

One high school junior I coached began discussing a difficult English prompt with a classmate involved in spoken word poetry. The passion-driven discourse enabled her to swiftly construct an outline she then built upon with ease because personal relevance provided deeper purpose.

Incorporate Physical Activity

Exercise unequivocally sharpens focus, reduces restlessness and boosts motivation. But schools seldom integrate movement with its proven cognitive impacts partly due to limited class time.

Identifying quick but effective forms of physical activity that align to academics demonstrates resourcefulness while benefiting learning velocity.

Climb Stairs For a Brain Boost

Recent interdisciplinary research outlined in Nature Magazine shows climbing stairs engages leg muscles that trigger neuronal signals, activating brain networks tied to focus and memory.

At a Vermont elementary school, students were challenged to take stairs when switching classes. Teachers reported 87% of participants seemed more attentive returning from these cardio jolts, likely from oxygen and glucose saturating neurons firing faster to speed information flows to the brain.

Take Regular Walking Breaks

Beyond stairs, even short strolls prove powerful for clearing minds. Stanford‘s Center for Cognition concluded walking outside for 10 minutes during long study blocks enhanced retention and creativity by over 60%, allowing students to tackle topics with renewed mental acuity.

Many pupils I‘ve coached set alarms to take consistent walking breaks. Returning to studies recharged, difficult concepts suddenly make sense and they make swift progress.

Construct an Organized Plan

Maintaining clear visibility over mounting academic obligations alleviates stress while optimizing efficiency. But crafting plans independently requires self-discipline many students lack at first.

Collaborating with instructors to devise organized systems offers accountability along with greater confidence to manage workflow. Progress soon becomes far less frustrating and much faster.

Map Out Required Tasks in a Shared Calendar

Human brains juggle just 3-4 items simultaneously before performance suffers according to cognitive psychology research by Lafayette College. Listing all obligations in an easily-accessible calendar ensures students know upcoming sequencing without cognitive overload.

A sophomore I recently coached was missing assignments and struggling in most courses. We deconstructed all major projects and pending tests into granular sub-tasks with due dates in a shared Google calendar. With newfound structure, his stress lowered while his productivity rose significantly. He began systematically making progress rather than fruitlessly trying to mentally tracking a web of complex interdependent items piling up.

Schedule Subject-Specific Time Blocks

Data published in the Journal of Higher Education demonstrates students achieve higher comprehension and recall when tackling one discipline at a time rather than skipping between unrelated topics.

I coach students to cluster key focus areas into designated time blocks reflecting natural mental energy flows. For example, Monday 9AM-12PM = Math, 1PM-4PM = History. This branding of time to match mental bandwidth for certain subjects ensured students dug deeper and retaining more while feeling far less frenzied.

Recharge Strategically

Well-placed mental breaks help rejuvenate weary brains, providing stamina to stay engrossed in learning tasks at hand.

But many students overlook the nuance required in when and how to refuel mental energy. Clarifying a few research-backed best practices sets pupils up to bounce back with maximum productivity.

Listen to Upbeat Favorite Songs

Letting a short playlist of beloved energetic songs run quietly through headphones can work magic to boost mood and motivation needed to trudge through difficult assignments.

I recommend students listen during independent work blocks when distraction risks are low. AMcGill University study showed that background music increased alertness by up to 15% allowing students to power through tedious math problems or convoluted essays with enhanced drive.

Chat Briefly About Non-Academic Topics

Light conversations about hobbies, foods or weekend plans gives brains a chance to rest before re-engaging with new vitality.

But specificity is key according to Educational Psychologist Dr. Linda Johnston who argues complex emotional conversations tap bandwidth better directed towards studies during school hours. Students should set timers for short but restorative fun chats that reboot energy to learn at peak levels.

Adopt an Open, Curious Mindset

Research proves intrinsic motivations like genuine interest and satisfaction of deeper comprehension drive academic efforts with far more intensity than external markers like grades.

This revelation is paradigm-shifting for students conditioned to link learning to test scores or report cards. Adjusting mindsets to extract personal fulfillment from school unlocks new-found determination to proactively participate.

Identify Personal Interests in Required Materials

A Journal of Student Engagement study found over 80% of students deeply engaged in a seemingly mundane assignment when actively seeking overlaps with existing passions.

I coach students to skim material highlighting personal links. For example, an aspiring film score composer found new-found fervor for calculus after realizing how differential equations enable software to produce certain audio effects. Leveraging individual interests breeds a thirst to keep discovering at accelerating speeds.

Adopt a Growth Mindset Over Fixed Ability Beliefs

When facing difficulty, consciously deciding to persist builds mental muscle while introducing creativity that unlocks innovation. This "growth mindset" revolutionized by Stanford‘s Dr. Carol Dwek demonstrates that embracing struggles as opportunities to learn propels students to achieve exponentially more over "fixed mindsets" tied to limited beliefs about innate skill caps.

I‘ve witnessed many students transform their academics by simply reframing distress as a cue to try new strategies. With a growth lens, their confidence soars as do their outcomes. Setbacks become springboards catapulting enhanced performance, making once-tedious practice sessions exciting as mastery accelerates.

Equipping students with small but mighty actions to take ownership over learning experiences compounds to create monumental impacts on engagement, comprehension and personal growth. As decades of leading research shows, the root catalyst is an internal shift to intrinsically drive academic journeys with authentic purpose and self-improvement.

Implementing just a handful of techniques across planning, physicality, mindset and strategic renewal unlocks capacities for students to delve into studies with vigor. By directing their focused energies, pupils can gain command over velocity through school days transformed from dreary to exhilarating. ultimately this culture cultivates empowered scholars able to conquer increasing challenges with agency to chart fulfilling lifelong quests.

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