Karyn Kessler Offers 5 Tips for Academic Success

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As teachers, we recognize that academic success isn’t based only on cognitive abilities; it is also significantly impacted by social practices and emotional well-being.  But sometimes, we aren’t always certain how to articulate that for our students.  That is why today we are sharing a video from our friend Karyn Kessler, Interim Academic Director of INTO Mason, in which she talks about her five tips for academic success.  While she directs her advice to students studying in international contexts, much of it also applies to students studying in their hometowns and the faculty who teach them.  We summarize her tips below.

  1. Read and talk about reading: The more comfortable we become reading, interpreting, and discussing texts, the more comfortable we will become writing about them.
  2. Be yourself: New contexts allow for the exploration of new identities, so take time to explore the possibilities for identity in a new context but remember to be yourself too.
  3. Talk to yourself: Practicing common ways of communicating helps to familiarize language patterns and makes using those conventions more comfortable.  This is true of both academic and less formal language patterns.  So, rehearse how you might communicate about a topic when you have free time.
  4. Get connected: Many of us can be intimidated by the idea of making friends in a new context, but participating in community events and activities can be an easy way to get connected.
  5. Set small goals: Planning for success includes a long-term vision, but aiming for that can be overwhelming. When you think about your long-term vision, make sure to set small goals that you know you can accomplish and that can help you generate momentum toward your long-term vision.

For teachers, Kessler’s video can be a timely reminder to think about how we support student success as move we wrap up our semesters, head into summer, and start planning our fall course designs: How might these tips impact the ways in which we develop our courses and interact with our students?