Where do you need to improve?

From Chapter 2 of Good Habits, Good Students:

Here’s a good way to find out where you need the most improvement: check your report card. Don’t just look at the grades, though. Check the comments your teachers write about each subject.

Far too often when students receive report cards, they check their marks and then stop reading. However, if your reports include comments from each teacher, these can be more useful than the grades when it comes to figuring out what you need to do to improve.

Not all comments by teachers are useful in this way. Some consist mostly of a standard description of what the class has studied in the previous term. There may be only a brief comment on your own work, and sometimes such comments emphasize what is most positive—which is nice, but not helpful if you’re trying to identify your weaknesses.

Sometimes, too, teachers’ comments are written in a kind of secret code I call “report-speak”. “George has a good understanding of blah blah blah”, you read. Sounds good. Actually, however, a “good” understanding may be the third– or fourth–best level, below other possibilities like “excellent” and “very good”. Once you realize this, “good understanding” doesn’t sound so good anymore.

Because comments on reports don’t always include the information you’re looking for, and because they are sometimes written in report-speak, any attempt to use your report card to discover where you most need to improve must include this vital step: asking your teachers, in person.

Before you speak with them, however, do a bit of preparatory work. Continue reading Where do you need to improve?

Don’t drink the water?

A recent news article reports on research that appears to debunk the standard advice to drink lots of water—”8 glasses a day” being the usual formula.

Here’s the way Will Dunham, reporting for Reuters news service, opened his story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The notion that guzzling glasses of water to flood yourself with good […]

WordPress 2.5

I’ve just upgraded the site to WordPress 2.5, and after a few months in which I’ve been extremely busy with other things I hope to resume more frequent posting soon. In the meantime, if you find that something on the site doesn’t work, please let me know!