The child of two is engaged in the greatest study skills activities of his life. He is mastering the complicated grammar of his mother tongue by reciting what he hears around him, asking questions and listening to the answers that he receives. These fundamental abilities will persist throughout life and determine progress.
Most normal children in their toddler years produce an endless stream of questions that can try the patience of parents. Research has shown that the way in which these questions are answered will have major consequences for learning abilities. A childish question, ‘Why must I not do this?’ can be answered with ‘Because I say so!’ or ‘Because it will hurt if you put your fingers in that hole.’ The first answer commands obedience. The second answer invites reasoning and further questioning.
Reasoning and questioning are the fundamental attitudinal chapter books for 4th graders activities of all learners. They will persist throughout life, but in the course of time other needs surface. The movement from the private domestic world into the public world occurs when school days begin. Teachers usurp parents as the ultimate arbiters of what is and what is not acceptable in public life. Conformity helps to teach discipline and this children must acquire in their early years at school. Routines and conventions are the basis of disciplines that will in time become academic skills.
Strong social needs emerge at adolescence. These may be so distracting that the attitudes of questioning and listening may be subverted and study can seem irrelevant. Successful teachers at this level somehow manage to make study in the field enjoyable, and what is enjoyable is relevant through that enjoyment, if for no other reason. At high school the delicate balance between discipline and enjoyed must be attained as a vital development.
As school years are left behind things naturally become more relevant because they are related to career choices. A new cycle begins again and the activities of questioning and reasoning emerge again as vital elements in the learning process.
The essence of time management is the use of discretionary time for pursuing priorities. Habits acquired during the early years of schooling must be rediscovered and applied at more intense and sophisticated levels during graduate and post graduate studies. However priorities might have changed from getting into line on time to have a thesis completed before a deadline.
Accompanying the emotional and attitudinal attributes that develop through the years are the hard core academic activities of reading, writing, listening and speaking. In some cases a child who has enjoyed success in these areas at an early stage does not adjust adequately as demands alter higher up the educational ladder. In such cases it may be that the study skill activities were not developed sufficiently at early stages of development.