8 Fool-Proof Ways to Help a Disorganised Student

Analyse their workload – and add a splash of colour!

I’m using the term ‘analyse’ logically here, meaning to break it down into manageable steps. So, whether your student is using an academic planner of any kind is important, but it’s not the only way to get things organised.

The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences did a study of colour in relation to memory performance a few years ago:

“Colour is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings. It functions as a powerful information channel to the human cognitive system and has been found to play a significant role in enhancing memory performance”1

Some ways to analyse workload are self-evident, for example, a Catholic student planner could have coloured post-it-notes, or colour highlighted sections for Sunday Readings. Our bespoke student planners could also have a page dedicated to colour coding!

Get the parents involved.

Having a co-operative relationship with parents can lead to an increased support network for the student, as well as tangible benefits including sticking up those colour coded reminders for homework and a weekly agenda on the fridge and front door!

Create an achievable checklist.

SMART Targets (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Based) is a tool that works great for helping students who feel that they can’t get organised. Using SMART Targets, you can combine the first two tips and turn them to goals for the week, for the month or even term. You can record and review SMART Targets in one of our student planners.

Routine. Routine. Routine. Rou…….

Assuming you’ve already followed point 2 and have contact and co-operation with parents, it’s time to discuss routine. Bedtime, wake-up-time, out-the-door time, and perhaps most importantly, homework/revision time.

Peer Support

You know your class as a whole better than anyone else, and so think to yourself who might benefit from super-organised-Susan? Perhaps not-organised-Natalie? Peer support and mentoring are not a new idea, but it can help turn disorganised students around.

Memory Aids

We talked about how to improve memory in the first point on our list. But what about Mnemonic devices? You’ve probably heard of BIDMAS, which covers the order of operations in mathematics. For a primary or secondary student, BIDMAS can be an easy way to teach an important mathematical framework. Student left their homework at home? Time for CATS! (Carry Assignment To School)

Out with the old, in with the new!

If your students have messy and untidy lockers or desks – it’s time to have a clear out. ‘Order in Matter, Order in Mind’, colourful materials strewn everywhere serve as a constant opponent to focus. Organise a clear-out 20-minute activity, and you could even take the opportunity to talk about recycling!

If all else fails…

Set up a meeting with the parents and agree on an enforcement scheme – with penalties for the student at home if they refuse to do their homework or participate in class. For each piece of homework you commission, produce a slip for the student to take home (which the parents are expecting) detailing the assignment, deadline, and any other useful information. This brings some of the disciplines of school into the home – and can be very powerful in changing minds that might have given up. If they succeed – it goes great with our Well Done Incentive Scheme.

Penstripe has been working with teachers, schools and educational psychologists to provide planners that can allow students to record their achievements, obligations, and special events. We also know that teachers themselves have a huge amount to think about, so we’ve got something special for you. To get started, get in touch now!



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