A Novel Take Podcast
Building an Adaptable Student
Today’s focal point: amidst a school year of shifting policies, instruction methods, and more, we’ll break down how your student can leverage adaptability, a key skill for students of all ages, to both achieve and maintain success. Hi, I’m Dr. Tony Di Giacomo from Novella Prep and this is A Novel Take.
Originally posted by the author in the riverjournalonline.com Road to College series.
Whether it’s universities reversing their original instruction plans, or the daily fluctuations of a hybrid class schedule, today’s students are facing a school year full of constant changes. No matter your student’s current grade level, knowing how to manage these shifts will be key to success. One of the best skills to develop this year — adaptability.
Typically, the best way for students to work on this skill is to seek out situations and interactions outside of their comfort zone. With today’s shifting policies, instruction types, and more, this school year will be anything but normal, making for an environment filled with almost nothing but experiences outside students’ typical areas of comfort. While these changes can certainly add to students’ stress and anxiety, they also provide an environment ripe with opportunity. More than ever before, students of all ages will have the chance to practice and demonstrate their ability to adapt.
But how exactly can students mitigate the worries and difficulties of the school year to adapt successfully? While the world around us may be changing, the key components of an effective student remain the same. First, communication. This doesn’t mean telling your teacher after that big test that you didn’t understand Chapter 5. Communication like this is reactive, helping neither your student nor the teacher address the problem. In order to be effective, communication should be frequent and proactive. Whether in a virtual environment, distanced by screens and wavering audio quality, or in-person, muffled by masks restricting important microexpressions, diction, and tone shifts, it may be difficult for students to feel truly heard. It’s up to your student to reach out to educators with focused questions that resolve potential gaps in understanding before they manifest in grades and performance. Whether via class participation, email, or video conference, ensuring your child’s concerns feel heard and are appropriately addressed this year may involve interactions from multiple fronts.
Other important elements of building an effective student include executive functioning skills like planning, maintaining organization, and self-monitoring how you manage your time. Creating clear plans for each day, week, and month, particularly for those existing in virtual-only or hybrid environments in which structure may be hard to come by, will be essential. Knowing what is expected of you for a given task, the key steps necessary to complete it, students can set appropriate personal deadlines and goals. This way, they will be ready for any roadblocks that may result from shifting factors outside of their control.
Adaptability isn’t just a skill for today. Admissions officers have always and will continue to seek applicants that demonstrate an aptitude for adjusting to and thriving in novel situations. Further, employment websites like Michael Page and LinkedIn place a candidate’s adaptability as one of the top 4 marketable skills in the modern workplace. Using the uncertainty of this year as an opportunity for growth and development will have significant implications not only for your student’s performance and well-being over the next few months, but for future academic and professional success.