Seven Habits of Successful Students

We all know that there is not a one-size-fits-all formula for raising a successful student. However, our seasoned CPLS faculty can tell you that there are specific traits that great students (and their parents) seem to share. What’s one trait you could establish with your student this week to help them become more successful in school?

  1. Successful students are good listeners and know how to engage without interrupting others.    -Jenny Lichte, Kindergarten Teacher (third year teacher)                                                TIP: When your family is having a discussion around the table, encourage everyone to make eye contact and comment on other’s words rather than just starting a new topic.  When reading, watching TV, or playing a video game, click pause and ask students to summarize, predict, or point out details.  Teach your students to be engaged with all the words floating around in their ear space.
  2. Successful students work a day ahead on homework (if applicable).                                                -James Seidel, Rhetoric School Math & Science (fifteenth year teacher)                                  TIP:  Encourage your student to work on the assignment the day it is assigned rather than the day before it is due. Not only will the material be fresher in the student’s mind, but there will also be time for the student to ask the teacher questions before the assignment is due.
  3. Successful students know how to break down big assignments into manageable chunks.                                   -William Barron, Logic School teacher (twelfth year teacher)                                                        TIP:  Help your student when you sense that they are feeling overwhelmed.  Show them how to divide projects and homework into smaller sections and study one piece at a time.  Encourage your student to make note cards to help memorize dates, places, and definitions.  Give them guidance and then give them space to work it out for themselves.  
  4.  Successful students in middle school use an agenda to its full potential.                                         -Doug Woolery, Logic School teacher (eighth year teacher)                                                      TIP:  Review your student’s agenda and see if they are writing down details.  For example, a successful student will write the specific assigned chapters and verses to review while a struggling student will often just write “Read Bible”.  A detailed agenda, filled with specific notes, will help your student get the most out of their study time. 
  5. Successful students attend school regularly.                                                                                                -Dr. William Isley, Rhetoric School (seventh year teacher)                                                              TIP: Try to limit the time your students need to be absent.  When students miss class, they miss opportunities to process the material being studied.  Missing class also keeps them focused on the past instead of being present in the discussion of the current material.  Try to schedule appointments for before or after school and take advantage of days off to complete appointments whenever possible. 
  6. Successful students read every day. -Julie Conroy, 4th grade (nineteenth year teacher)                                     TIP:  Encourage (or even consider requiring) your student to read in their leisure time before having screen time with the TV or computer games.  Students who regularly read acquire superior skills in comprehension, grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling.  These students also become the best writers and they lead their peers in comprehension and critical thinking.  And the more they read, the more they love to read.  So, start early and read often!
  7. Successful students accept responsibility for their grades.                                                                                                      -Michelle Higgins, 5th grade (sixteenth year teacher)                                                                             TIP: Don’t be afraid to let younger students manage their own grades. Parents should be clear about their expectations regarding grades, but then allow students to take responsibility for their academics and suffer the natural consequences when their effort is lacking.  Managing their assignments, reminding them about deadlines and overseeing their homework might yield great results in the short term, but successful students enter high school understanding how to organize themselves and take ownership of their education.