For many students, learning how to plan is the secret to getting better grades.
Their grades aren’t where they should be, not because they lack specific skills in math or English, but because they struggle with planning and organization.
The result — these students are “smarter” than their grades suggest; it’s a matter of learning “how to use what they have more efficiently, and better” that makes them “smarter,” according to Jack Naglieri, research professor at UVA and co-editor of the Handbook of Executive Functioning (2014). Responding to the question, “Can your IQ ever change?” Naglieri says, “I’ve been able to teach children to be better in mathematics without teaching them mathematics. You can teach a child to better utilize their ability to plan, and that improves their academic performance not only in math, but in reading comprehension” (Cox, Lauren. “5 Experts Answer: Can Your IQ Change?” Live Science. May 30, 2013. livescience.com/36143).
Effective Planning Looks Like…
The ability to stay focused.
Being able to break down assignments into smaller parts and plan for each step. This is especially crucial when it comes to writing assignments.
Being able to get started with and persist with challenging tasks. Again, especially important when faced with writing assignments!
All Students Can Learn to Plan Better
Any student who struggles with planning can become an effective planner. They can learn strategies for maintaining focus , breaking down lengthy assignments into manageable steps, and tackling challenging tasks.
By learning to use what they already have “more efficiently and better,” to borrow Naglieri’s words, they’ll not only see their grades improve, but they’ll feel more successful in every aspect of their lives.
In fact, many of my writing students from Essex, Lyme-Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook have become better planners by learning how to write more effectively. Why? Because writing requires planning and good writing depends on effective planning. So, when students master the writing process, they build solid planning skills.