by psalter on August 31, 2014

Even though parents and teachers tell students that multi-tasking is not an effective way to work, sometimes students just don’t believe them! They think they are different, they think it is just something parents and teachers say with no evidence. So here are some academic research studies to demonstrate to students where the proof is coming from to show that multi-tasking personal activities and schoolwork just doesn’t work.

Ellis, Y., Daniels, W. and Jauregui, A. (2010). The effect of multitasking on the grade performance of business students. Research in Higher Education Journal, 8
In this study, 62 university students were taking an accounting course. During a lecture, half were allowed to text and half had their phones turned off. After the lecture there was a quiz and those students who did not text scored much higher marks than those who were texting at the same time that they were trying to listen to the lecture.

stayingfocusedRESEARCH STUDY 2
Kraushaar, J. M. and Novak, D. C. (2010). Examining the affects of student multitasking with laptops during lecture. Journal of Information Systems Education, 21 (2), 241-251.
In this study 97 students were using laptops during a 15 week management information systems course. A spyware program had been installed on all laptops to track what students did on their laptop looking at productive work versus distractive software (games, instant messages, web browsing, social media). Students who tried to listen to the lecture while using these distractive windows had significantly lower scores on homework, projects, quizzes, final exams and final course averages. The researchers also found that students under reported the extent of their multi-tasking – this means they were actually multi-tasking much more than they even realised.

Bowman, L. L., Levine, L. E., Waite, B. M. and Dendron, M. (2010). Can students really multitask? An experimental study of instant messaging while reading. Computers & Education, 54, 927-931.
Students in a psychology course had to read on their computer screen a 4000 word document. There were 3 groups. One used instant messaging before they started reading, one used instant messaging while they were reading, and a third group just read the document with no instant messaging. The group who did instant messaging while they were reading took between 22% to 59% longer to read the passage – and that was with the time spent messaging subtracted!

Fried, C. B. (2008). In-class laptop use and its effects on student learning. Computers and Education, 50 (3), 906-914.
Students in a psychology course completed weekly surveys on their use of laptops during class. The study found that the more students used their laptops in class the lower was their performance and their understanding of the lectures.

If your school subscribes to  you can learn more about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources:
Online Study Skills Handbook:

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by psalter on August 1, 2014

personal issuesWhere can you find help when you are struggling at school?


If things in your life are upsetting you or stressing you this will affect your ability to learn effectively. Talk to your family, talk to your friends or other people you are close to or teachers you feel comfortable sharing with. However if you need additional support, make sure you find it rather than let things get worse. You can approach the counsellor at your school and they can give you some professional help or find someone who can help you with your specific problems. If you want someone to talk to, you can use Kids Helpline, a free confidential service: 1800 55 1800 or use the online service at It is much better to talk to someone rather than lock it all inside you.



If you are finding a particular subject difficult, the first place you should seek help should be your classroom teacher.  Firstly ask questions in class as problems arise. If you find you have too many questions to ask in class (as you’d end up disturbing the class) then ask your teacher if you can make a time to see them before or after class or during lunch or after school. Teachers are happy to help students who do their best and are keen to improve. Other places you might be able to find help are: books or extra textbooks in the school or local library, other students in the class, students in older years, other teachers at the school, family members, family friends. If you try all of these options and are still having problems, then you might consider looking for a tutor. Often ex-students from your school who are at university might be interested in doing some tutoring or even teachers at other schools. You can ask your teacher if they can recommend anyone.


LEARNING ISSUESlearning issues

If you aren’t having trouble with a specific subject, but are finding learning for school in general difficult, the first people to talk to are your parents. You might like to write down your feelings or what you are experiencing so you can explain things to them clearly. Your parents can then help you decide what steps to take next. It is probably a good idea for them to talk to your teachers first to get their perspectives. They might make an appointment with one of the pastoral care staff like a Year Coordinator to sit down with you and your parents to talk through the issues you are experiencing.  The school might also have learning support staff who can help you work out what your issues are and who the best people are to help you.  If the learning support staff can’t help you, they will be able to refer you to outside services who can diagnose and address any learning issues you might have.


If your school subscribes to  you can learn more about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.


Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources:
Online Study Skills Handbook:

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stressaSeven Quick Tips to Help you Relax

The daily demands of life, such as exams, peer pressure, and homework assignments, or the challenges of relationships, family, or not making it on a sporting team can lead to an overwhelming feeling of stress. What you need to learn is how to cope with these situations in order to live a successful, productive, and happy life. Here are some proven techniques to help you relax and eliminate stress from your mind and body.


1. Eat in Moderation
Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Breakfast replenishes your body and helps you start your day full of energy. Eat three main meals, and two to three snack meals a day. Eating five to six times in a day keeps your blood sugar levels balanced, giving you an overall sense of well-being needed for focusing on your tasks and responsibilities.

2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise, at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minute sessions, can virtually “soak up” stress chemicals in your body and help you to relax and even sleep better. Brisk walking, aerobic classes, swimming, bike riding, or jogging are great exercises to release stress build up and relax your body and mind to either start or end your day right.

3. Remember to Breathe
When you feel your body start to tense, especially in your shoulders, chest, and abdomen when faced with a stressful situation, stop and take a few deep, slow breaths. If you are entering into a stressful situation, breathe slowly and evenly, using diaphragmatic breathing. This is a technique where you focus your breathing on your diaphragm where your belly rises and falls with each breath. Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to calm your nerves and relax your body and mind as your attention is placed on your breath.

4. Take a Time Out and be MINDFUL
As you go through your day, take little breaks, about two to five minutes, to relax and unwind. Whether it’s sitting quietly, listening to relaxing music, or meditation, take a moment to place yourself in your own calm state.

5. Pursue an Interest
Find something that you enjoy doing that is relaxing for you. When you find an interest that matches your personality, you can not only unwind and release stress, but engage your creativity in expressing yourself. This could be through painting, playing basketball, writing, playing a musical instrument, or signing up for a class that you have always been wanting to take.

6. Have a Support Network
Create a support network of close friends or family that you can turn to in times of stress. Good and loving relationships are key for your well-being and happiness. It makes you realize what is important in life and where your energies should be placed.

7. Avoid Bad Habits
When you are under stress, it is easy to turn to your established bad habits to deal with the stress. These habits are negative and will not take away stress, but only prolong it. The best way to avoid bad habits is to create new positive habits. Here is how to create a positive habit:
• Decide on the habit. Will you go for a walk each morning, go to the gym, take time out to do something special for yourself?
• Decide on where and when you will do this new habit. Choose a time and place and continue this new activity for 3 months (it takes around 66 days to establish a habit).
• Reward yourself each time you do this new activity. You may simply take a moment to notice how good it feels.

These tips provided by Rocky Biasi from Human Connections ( a secondary high school teacher and school counsellor currently in private practice. Rocky is a specialist in the field of peak performance and wellbeing. He has created a number of programs including his online wellbeing resource:

MANAGING STRESS AND ANXIETY RESOURCE: Rocky Biasi and I have presented joint sessions to thousands of students since 2006 and I have personally experienced and witnessed how the Tapping Technique he teaches helps students relax and calm down in minutes. He has created a resource so you can learn more about it. You can find out more and access it here He is asking only $7 and providing 100% of the proceeds to a fantastic school called Giant Steps. This school helps children and their families with Autism.

If your school subscribes to  you can learn more about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on the site. Check if your school subscribes here.

Prue Salter
Enhanced Learning Educational Services
The study skills specialist!
Study Skills Resources:
Online Study Skills Handbook:

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June 1, 2014

Many students when they come home from school end up just waiting until they might ‘feel’ like doing schoolwork. Or else they drag the work out over the whole night. A much better way to work is each night have set allocated times for schoolwork, 2-3 half hour blocks. During this time you should do homework [...]

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May 1, 2014

Are you riding a rollercoaster at school? Rollercoaster study is where you stay up late doing last minute assignments, then you take it easy for a while and do very little, then panic again when something is due and have to spend huge amounts of time at the end completing the work. If you plan [...]

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March 31, 2014

Homework in secondary school serves many purposes. It could be to consolidate or check or extend the learning from the day or prepare for the learning to come in subsequent days. It could be to do with longer term work such as assignments or preparing for tests and examinations. Ultimately it comes back to what [...]

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March 1, 2014

Here are 5 reasons why you should start working on your assignment simmediately. 1. GET YOUR BRAIN THINKING ABOUT THE TOPIC: Even if your assignment isn’t due for weeks, start thinking about it immediately. At the very least, answer the key starter questions on the day you get your assignment. Even if you are not [...]

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January 31, 2014

Every parent and teacher would like to see students achieving their personal academic best at school. Knowing how to work efficiently can help students navigate the mire of academic demands in secondary school in a stress-free way. Here are the top five tips about making the most of your time at school this year and working efficiently [...]

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January 1, 2014

This month’s post is a guest post from Skylar Anderson. Skylar Anderson is a Seminar Director at StudyRight. He graduated summa cum laude from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree. He has been helping students simplify their studies and get the most from their education through StudyRight since 2011. [...]

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December 1, 2013

Reflecting on Triumphs and Tribulations With the end of the year fast approaching it is a good time for students to reflect on their approach to school this year.  If you wait until next year you will have forgotten what you did this year and what you need to change for next year. So as [...]

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