What Smart Students Know – 12 Principles


In 1993 Adam Robinson, Co-founder of the Princeton Review, wrote a book called What Smart Students Know. The remarkable thing about this book is that it shows students (and anyone interested in learning) how to take full control of their education. He helps students take control of their education through 12 principles. I created a mindmap to capture these 12 principles and what they mean.

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I would like to study a P.G.C.E as I embrace teaching as an opportunity to engage pupils in subjects about which I am passionate. I am confident that I am suited to study a PGCE because this particular course of study allows developing teachers to apply their specialist subject(s) in a creative way. Having researched the P.G.C.E course content I have found it to be dynamic, engaging, and of great value to teaching expertise and personal development. I look forward to engaging with children and young people and receiving and developing their ideas. Indeed, one of my greatest strengths is my ability to communicate. I convey my ideas and thoughts to students succinctly and enthusiastically, while appreciating the ideas of the pupils themselves, ensuring that they are listened to and understood. An enthusiastic and friendly disposition is essential to encourage interrelations between pupils and teachers. I am passionate about finding the most effective ways of stimulating and sustaining creative development, and it is important to me to optimize student engagement and success. I am currently studying my BA in English and Media studies, and work as a Teaching Assistant in a secondary school.

Read to know more: “Online Education”  what essay writers say.

Studying at undergraduate level has taught me to schedule my time well, and I credit myself on being punctual and reliable. I enjoy working to deadlines, finding that working under pressure sharpens my focus. I understand that a P.G.C.E is a full time occupation and will require considerable periods of preparation time, before teaching in a classroom. I keep an organised and balanced home environment, designed to maximise the benefits of my home study time. Indeed, my home environment when younger was particularly supportive of my interest in teaching, which has been cultivated from an early age. I appreciate the value of acquiring behaviour management skills. Although I have had experience in dealing with difficult situations in the classroom, I look forward to developing these skills during a P.G.C.E where I will be introduced to children of varying ages and abilities. As demonstrated throughout my BA I am an able public speaker, not afraid to speak in front of groups of people, and am confident that during a further year of study and experience I will become competent in controlling, and challenging, difficult behaviour. I believe that I can contribute creatively to existing methods and theories in the practise of teaching. While I understand that conventional teaching methods must be respected, I believe that the development of a creative teaching style ultimately rests with the individual. I look forward to studying the national curriculum and applying it in a classroom environment, while at the same time relating it to the design of my own lessons to meet the standards which it sets.

My work experience in a school environment has made me aware of the importance of school rules, and that teaching places great emphasis on the enforcement of these rules. I understand that it is sometimes extremely hard work to manage pupils who do not want to apply themselves and am willing to invest substantial time and energy into the challenging situations which might arise during a P.G.C.E. The theory and practice of teaching should ideally be integrated. I am an independent thinker, a quick learner, and adept at applying myself to the different facets of teaching. Yet I also work well with others, and enjoy sharing and cultivating new ideas in both the theory and practice of teaching. I believe that study within the Humanities can help students acquire confidence in their own abilities and can expand their experience of the world. I aim to help pupils develop the skills needed to work independently and competently, while encouraging them to enjoy and gain the most that they can from their studies. During my time teaching at secondary level, I have seen that classroom study can be complemented and enriched by practical activities, such as excursions to museums and lessons in using library resources. Furthermore, while the classroom environment remains crucial to students’ assimilation of ideas and knowledge, the interpretation of these ideas that can be encouraged through critical study projects and even extra-curricular projects aimed to stimulate and perpetuate creativity. During my work as a Teaching Assistant I have developed a good rapport with the students. Already I have begun to develop a reputation as being kind, enthusiastic, and dedicated. Aspects of my character which I will carry into a P.G.C.E are patience, conscientiousness, affability, and efficiency. Throughout my University career I have shown that I am competent at organising. While always handing my own work in on time I have helped to organise extra-curricular activities for students in the Humanities departments, such as workshops and seminar programs.

The development of my own education is important to me. I have taken additional courses to complement the BA course program. I would like to continue developing my own knowledge and skills throughout my proposed career in teaching, as I believe that progress and time management are key components to establishing my identity as a teacher. Furthermore, during my experience as a Teaching Assistant I have learnt the value of continually refining teaching practices and have recognised the importance of growing as a teacher. It is crucial that teachers recognize the influence inherent in their role and are self-reflective about their actions. I am keen to share my knowledge of English and Media within the Humanities, and feel that I could make a substantial contribution to your department which enjoys a high reputation. The School is clearly very successful with a creative and stimulating approach to education, and I would be honoured to be a part of this. As part of a P.G.C.E I envisage that further professional training and experience would be extremely valuable to me, and I look forward to applying my creative and personal skills in an academic environment.


Review: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto


Warning: extreme rant. Approach with caution. It also has a spoiler.

Oh, Halo.

Because I don’t think I’ll be capable of positive thinking after this, I should add that I did enjoy the writing in this book and that I really admire Adornetto for becoming a published author at the age of 14 (she published The Shadow Thief).

And now onto the negatives.

I am writing a book review on Good Friday and I would like to mention that no matter whether you regard angels as mythical beings or not, angels are regarded as powerful, good, pure messengers of God. Actually, they’re that way unless you’re a YA author. The rules bend for you because you MUST accommodate that HAWT boy in your book!

The reason why I picked this book up was that of the overwhelmingly bad reviews on Goodreads. If you go and check it out, the whole first page is chock full of hilariously bad reviews, complete with stress-reduction kits and all (bang your head against a flat surface until you are concussed! Your stress will then be reduced!). And I was super excited to find this book in the library because I thought it would be bad in a FUNNY way.

Nicole, learn your lesson. An overwhelming amount of bad reviews is never wrong. Never pick up this sort of book again.

Let’s start off with the location of this book and geography. Right now, I’m learning about the poverty line, population pyramids, that sort of thing. I’m learning about the overwhelming amount of people who don’t have shelter, who don’t have food, who don’t have access to basic healthcare, who don’t earn enough money to feed their families. Angels should go and improve lives of these people, right?

Wrong again, guys!

In this book, Gabriel, Ivy, and–yes, she is an angel, get this–Bethany go to a sleepy coastal town where the siblings stay in a mansion, eat truffles, send Bethany to high school, and generally have a great time! This is sidestepped by the fact that there is a glaringly obviously villain who arrives at Bethany’s school and then bad things happen.

After that, there’s a happy ending. ALL IS WELL.

So basically, this is what the main characters in this story do to help life on earth:

  • Ivy knits! And volunteers at an aged care facility! I do that with the Duke of Ed program at my school too! Yay! I’m just as good as an angel!
  • Gabriel teaches at a school and he’s moody. And, OMG, because he’s so cute heaps of girls are chasing after him.
  • Bethany goes to school and, let’s see…hmm, what does she do help people? Oh, yes, she falls in love with this guy and it’s totally okay even though she’s an angel because he’s, like, totally hawt and it’s so okay to love hot boys even if it’s against the laws of heaven because he’s, like, cute! She also occasionally snaps out of it and goes and volunteers at the aged care facility because, like, she needs to DO something, right?

There are just…so many problems with this book I can’t even begin to list them all. For one, the author fills up about the first half of the book (and I’m not even exaggerating here) with descriptions of le beautiful town and how great life is on earth. And then she spends the next quarter of the book building up to an achingly obvious conclusion. The fact that I could predict the ending the moment the villain entered the story didn’t help either.

There’s also the part where Bethany reveals that she’s an angel to her human boyfriend, the moment when Gabriel hands her a credit card so she can go shopping for prom (I might add here that Adornetto is Australian, and in Australia, we have no such thing as prom. It’s a SCHOOL DANCE or a SOCIAL), the part when she actually considers having sex with her human boyfriend. And while I’m at it, did I mention that she gets drunk and gets a hangover?

I could go on and on about this, but I think I’m going to stop here. Please don’t read this book, and if you do need to, borrow it from the library. It’s one of the books I can safely say I seriously disliked. One star.

This really wasn’t for me.