It’s no secret that French Immersion students have several priorities to juggle…
Not only are they required to study for all of their core subjects, but they also have to balance the increased workload that naturally comes with learning a second language.
The key to pulling off a successful balancing act lies in Time Management.
Time management is an essential life skill that serves students well beyond their school years. So learning how to master this “lifetime success secret” means an investment in not just the school year – but the student’s entire future.
So what’s the secret to thriving in all classes, learning a second language and enjoying extra-curriculars…without feeling overwhelmed?
Here are 3 of the best time management tips any French Immersion student can use to start managing his or her time effortlessly:
Practice Single-Minded Concentration
It’s happened to you: you’re working hard on a work assignment until a co-worker stops by your desk to discuss something that is entirely irrelevant to your task at hand. When you try to get back to your assignment, you feel like you’ve lost your momentum. It takes a bit of time to get your mojo back and get back on track…until the next distraction.
These small distractions might not seem significant, but when they are compounded over an entire work day, they amount to hours of lost productivity. So one of the most critical steps a French Immersion student can take to manage his or her time effectively is to eliminate that “leaky” energy.
An easy way to stop distractions for good is to start using the Pomodoro Technique invented by developer, author and entrepreneur, Francesco Cirillo.
The technique is simple. To start, set a timer of 25 minutes and focus on one specific task, like French vocabulary. During that time, there can be no checking Facebook, twitter, emails, texting or chatting. Absolutely no distractions. Once the timer beeps, the student takes a 5 minute break to do whatever they please.
With frequent breaks and short bursts of focused time, studying suddenly feels like less of a burden and becomes much more effective, resulting in less hours spent and reduced stress and frustration.
Parents or siblings are often the most at fault for distracting or interrupting studies at home. Ask your French immersion student to “announce” to the house that they are doing “focused learning” for 25 minutes to make sure nobody distracts them inadvertently.
Click here to get started using an already done-for-you Pomodoro digital timer.
Commit to Daily French Learning
When learning a new skill like a second language, committing to daily practice is essential. Without that commitment, students will likely put it off until crunch time.
Using the Pomodoro Technique mentioned above, students can choose to commit to 25 minutes of distraction-free French learning activities outside of their regular classroom assignments.
The key here is to make this time fun.
Their 25-minute commitment might be spent watching a French series, listening to French radio or even working their way through this fun and interactive French course for English speakers (it’s free!). Just 25 minutes a day can make a dramatic difference in any French Immersion student’s communication skills by the end of the year.
Don’t have 25 minutes to spare?
No problem. If there’s a big test coming up or projects due, students might feel that time is scarce. And this 25-minute commitment might be the first thing to bite the dust. The important thing is to not eliminate this commitment entirely. Instead, by reducing the commitment to only 10 or 15 minutes, the student can still keep the French-learning alive without impeding on time spent on major priorities.
Make a Priority List
Before sitting down to begin the day’s homework, it’s important for students to make a list of everything they have to do.
Some students might say, “I already know everything I have to do, so what’s the point of writing it down?”
The truth is, storing information in your mind can significantly slow down the learning process. When you write things down, magic happens. You make space for new information and can harness your creativity. This is rudimentary time management at its best.
Now it’s your turn…
What time management tips have worked for your child? Share your best time management and productivity secrets with the community in the comments below!