Mon | Nov 12, 2018

In-School Productivity Campaign | Balancing academics and social time

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:07 AM
The students at Merl Grove High School listen keenly to Sashelle Gooden, senior communication specialist at the Jamaica Productivity Centre, as she provides, guidance and tips on how to study.
Following the Jamaica Productivity Centre/ LASCO student rap session at Merl Grove High School, the teachers were presented with gift baskets as encouragement to continue the hard work.
Sashelle Gooden


Since the start of 2018, the Information and Communications Unit of the Jamaica Productivity Centre has been visiting schools for the purpose of discussing with students topics relating to productivity concepts and tools.

From our rap sessions with students at primary and secondary schools it became obvious to our team that our youngsters are not familiar with how to become more productive in their academic and non-academic pursuits (sports, social clubs, religious endeavours and personal time for quiet reflection). It was also observed that they showed limited understanding of the importance of becoming more productive, as they fail to make the connection between productivity and their quality of lives (today or in the future).

Students appear to have a basic idea of how productivity is defined, but need more guidance on what it has to do with them or how and why it is important to incorporate it in their day-to-day existence.

Through conversations with a sample of students across the schools visited, the youngsters expressed the belief that they have a natural talent or gift for specific subjects - leading them to obtain 'good grades'. In contrast, the subjects for which they do not have a natural inclination, they obtain "poor grades".

One cliched example of this is, students who have an appreciation for Mathematics automatically believe they will not do well in English Language and English Literature. In other words, for these students it is either Mathematics or English. However, in real life both are necessary and must be mastered.

The JPC team also explored the study patterns of each student, to ascertain if this could influence improvement in the subjects that they tend to like or dislike. We found that the students spend most of their study time on the subjects they love and the remaining time on the subjects that they dislike and frequently 'fail'. Thus their study pattern leads to further mastery of their favourite subjects and further deterioration in the subjects they disliked, eventually leading to fear for and a mental block against specific subjects.

...Tough task for teachers

Teachers have the huge task of ensuring, at best, that each student demonstrate incremental improvement in knowledge of all subject areas. Since each teacher is responsible to impart knowledge and monitor the progress of hundreds of students it makes it difficult to give much needed attention on a one-to-one basis.

Teachers exert a lot of energy everyday within the classroom coming up with innovative ways to best connect with their students - giving assignments and encouraging students to revise and study daily. Nonetheless, we provide below, three tips on how to study, that students might find beneficial:

It is important that students develop a timetable which strikes a balance between academics and social engagements as both are necessary for holistic development. This type of planning teaches time management and how to set priorities.

Use test papers to guide study topics - This ensures that students understand that tests are for them to know the areas that they have not grasped. Encourage them to study the topics that they have gotten incorrect and then attempt the questions again. This way we know they are paying attention to the subjects they like as well as dislike.

Never neglect the subjects you excel in (your favourites) but equal or more attention should be given to those subjects for which your performance has deteriorated.

Being productive and successful is not based on talent or gift but how you apply yourself to accomplish the goals you set yourself.

- Sashelle Gooden is senior communication specialist at the Jamaica Productivity Centre.