Teaching Students How To Learn: Why Do We Expect Students To Learn When We Don’t Teach Them How?

Have you ever assembled furniture from IKEA?

IKEA instrucitons

Even with the easy-to-read, illustration-only instructions, this process can be frustrating.

Many of us have had that pleasure (using the term loosely).  Even with the easy-to-read, illustration-only instructions, this process can be frustrating.

But, imagine… if the next time you purchased a couch from IKEA, no instructions were provided. Could you assemble it?

How hard could it be?!  You’ve probably got a bottom piece, a back piece, a couple of arms, some legs, and a few cushions, right?!

Well, if you’re anything like me, this scenario makes your blood pressure rise.  You’re envisioning that packet of screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and oddly shaped plastic pieces.  By now, your stress level is through the roof!

If IKEA didn’t provide the instructions to teach you how to assemble the couch, would you still shop at IKEA?

Probably not!

So, why do we send our students to school and tell them to learn without EVER teaching them HOW to learn?!


We’re really good at providing them with lots of content.  Just like IKEA is good at providing you with lots of screws, nuts, bolts, and plastic thingies (along with some extra random parts).  But without instructions, how would you know how to organize and assemble a bunch of random parts and pieces into a couch?  So, how does providing lots of content to students, without teaching them how to learn it or how to organize it, help them actually learn?

It’s no wonder that SOAR® receives regular requests from students asking how they can get their school to teach them how to learn with learning and soft skills (a.k.a. study skills).  Like Timothy Decatur-Luker (6th grade class president) from Madison, VA that made an official appeal to his school board demanding that the students of his middle school be taught how to learn.  To read the full story about Timothy, click HERE.

Or, a high school in Las Vegas, NV that was teaching its incoming freshman class how to learn with study skills… When the senior class heard about this, they immediately went to their principal and said, “Hey, we’re the ones heading off to college next year, we need to know how to learn too!”  (That school called us right back and ordered the program for their senior class as well.)

A search for “student motivation” on Google yields 221 Million results.  It’s probably no surprise to you that those results are talking about the “student motivation crisis” in the education system.  Is it really true that students have little desire to learn?

student motivation

It’s probably no surprise to you that those results are all talking about the “student motivation crisis” in the education system.

Or, are students frustrated that we’ve asked them to learn without any instructions on how to learn?!  Much like us trying to assemble that IKEA couch without the instructions.

Let’s look at the other side of the coin.  What about the students that HAVE been taught how to learn with study skills?  What’s their motivation towards school?  Well, here’s a video of some of the students using SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills (study skills) at a school in Utah:


So, the next time you ask your students to take notes, read a chapter in the textbook for homework, study for tomorrow’s quiz, etc., ask yourself “Has anybody ever taught them how to learn?”  The answer is most likely “no.”

But now you have an opportunity to do something about it.  If you’re a Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Physical Education, Art, Music, or Career and Technical Education Teacher (Did I leave anybody out?) then YOU are qualified to teach students how to learn!

Taking a few minutes each week, to teach your students how to learn with study skills, will go a long way in their future academic success AND their attitude towards school.

You can do your own research and/or create your own materials to teach students how to learn.  Or, you can check out our done-for-you study skills curriculum.  Click HERE to learn about what’s covered in SOAR® or click HERE to price-out a quote.

WARNING:  If you do teach students how to learn with the SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills Curriculum, be prepared to explain to your administration why your students have a +0.5 increase in GPA, 30% reduction in missing assignments, and a 20% increase in confidence and attitude towards school.  We know this is exactly what will happen, because we actually guarantee it with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Any questions?  Reach out to us on our Contact Us page.



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