Life throws us curve balls more often that we would like. In a ‘face’-conscious society like Singapore, the thought of asking for help may cause many to feel like they are weak, incapable, or burdensome. What most try to do, instead, is to take on everything themselves.
Bearing such immense loads has serious implications. In 2017, mental health agencies reported increases of 50 – 70% in the rates at which youths aged between of 5 – 19 have sought help for depression and other mental health issues.
Despite what some might feel, seeking help with your school work early, often, and in a purposeful manner reveals not weakness, but an internal clarity of what your own limitations are, and a sense of humility that others may be able to share their deeper experience and knowledge with you.
In this post, we discuss 3 ways students can learn to ask for help more effectively.
1. Make Asking For Help a Two-Way Street
Asking for help with your school work can make you feel selfish, or give you the impression that you are only ‘taking’ from those who help you. This does not have to be the case.
Establishing a study group is an excellent way to make asking for help a two-way street. Given that you and your friends are likely to have different strengths, a study group sets up an environment where people can give and receive help reciprocally. In such an environment, you should feel free to seek clarifications about your doubts, and be willing to return the favour by sharing your own knowledge.
You can also honour the people who have helped you by paying it forward when the opportunity arises. Be observant about the difficulties that your peers are facing, and remember to be tactful when offering to help!
2. Seek Professional Coaching or Tutoring
Even as getting together with friends can be helpful to your studies, it is difficult to gather a group of people together for a sustained period of time. Professional tutors can be an answer to this, and tutoring platforms like Learnable allow students and parents to search for tutors based on reviews and rating scores, interview, and hire them, ensuring that the tutors are well suited for each student’s unique learning needs.
Students will also be able to track their own assignments and progress through the Progress Tracking dashboard, and learn more about their strengths and weaknesses early on before crucial examinations.
In this way, help can be targeted towards specific problem areas, and provided in a way that takes into account your personal learning style.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.Barack Obama
3. Make Asking For Help a Habit
While you may not be clear about when to ask for help, or even how to best approach someone, the more you do something, the better you get at it. If you commit to asking for help early, and with a clear understanding of what your learning gaps are, this will become more familiar with time.
One habit you can cultivate is to write down a list of doubts before seeking a consultation with a teacher. This not only lets your teacher know that you’ve prepared for the session, but helps you to organise your own thoughts to identify what you know, what you don’t know, and what steps you’ve already tried to take. In this way, both you and your teacher can make the learning process more effective and enjoyable.
What other ways can you seek help effectively? Let us know in the comments!