As students transition to secondary school, one of the main differences they notice is the lack of direct guidance in regards to their activities outside class time. In elementary school, the school day is rigid in structure, often broken into 20-50 minute blocks that involve instructional time, recess, nutrition breaks, and daily physical activity (DPA). In secondary school, there are still blocks of time laid out for students, but the blocks tend to be longer, and are not always specifically designated for an activity (i.e. free periods).
It is important for secondary teachers to understand that many students, even those without LDs, will struggle to effectively manage their time without some form of guidance. Time management is a learned skill that can enhance self-esteem, reduce stress in the classroom, the workplace, in the home, and in life in general (LDAHH, 2001).
Unfortunately, there is no miracle strategy to make students manage their time, especially on their own. The strategies used must respond to the specific needs of the student. Before any interventions are used independently or on assessments, it is important to have individual meetings with the student in order to help them understand the available strategies and how they can personalize them. The student will then need to be supported in using these methods consistently and applying them to different types of tasks. Practice in class is essential to eventually having the student implement the methods on their own. This way, the intervention becomes more of an automated response rather than an extra step the student must remember.
The following are some examples of strategies that can help your students learn to manage their time more effectively:
- Use planners and organizers to develop time management skills. Click here to access the Weekly Planner template.
- Break down tasks into manageable pieces. Click here to access the Assignment Planner template.
- Set short work sessions and take frequent breaks
- Use a timer
- Perform one task at a time