“Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device” says David Allen – the productivity consultant. He wrote the book Getting Things Done ‘The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’ in which he described how to get things done rapidly. It is a time-management method which is often referred to as GTD.

His ideas are more useful for the people interested in business world but what if OUR STUDENTS or CHILDREN have the ability of stress-free productivity?

What should we do to make them have stress-free productivity?
If we ask what makes students feel stressful at school most probably they will give the first and second places to homework and exams.

So, here are some clues to change these two stress sources into learning tools.

Changing the traditional homework style..
We first give the theory of what we want them to learn and then give homework for practice.
Is it important to pass information and make them memorize all the formulas, theories and methods or to minimize the information to store in mind and show them the way to use the skills in finding a way to solve the problems?
• Give qualified homework or tasks which make the students think, but not do the same exercise repeatedly.
• Don’t stuff students’ heads with the information they can easily reach from the internet. They do not need to memorize any of the formulas which we had to while we were students.
Instead, give them the formula and ask how many different ways they can find to reach the same solution.
• If you want them to learn about a method, ask them such a question in a smart way that their research will take them to the method itself. That information will become more valuable and permanent because they will put effort into their work to find the answer of the question. It will not be given directly by the teacher.

• They mostly ask the same question to the teachers and parents. They do not know why they learn what they learn. Create awareness by giving real life examples.

Monitoring and evaluating students in groups..
• Let them take exams in groups.
Students are all alone during the exams but in real life they are not. When they have a job, they will be working as a team member. This will teach them how to be collaborative and how to respect other people’s ideas.
When they make a decision in a group, they experience how to share ideas, accept or refuse others’ ideas, fail or succeed as groups. Students will be more self-confident because the failure or success will not belong to individuals.

Asking qualified questions..
• Don’t use exams to evaluate your own teaching. When we ask them questions exactly the way we teach, we evaluate how much they memorize. Smart questions will make children think. When children think, they will learn how to be smart.
As a mother and a teacher, I think this will be a good start to shape the teaching process according to the new generation. If we really succeed in making these changes, our children might have the ability of stress-free productivity.

Burcu Tuncalı
Lifelong Learner –