Helping students transition into the school year

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) – With the first few weeks of the academic year in the past, area students are starting to get back into the swing of their school year routine. Between waking up early and having to focus on homework, transitioning from summer isn’t always easy. 

After weeks of running around with friends and enjoying the Coulee Region, sitting in a desk could make a challenge for anyone. Add new lessons and fresh concepts to understand and the first weeks of the year can be tough on students.

The return to classes can also be overshadowed by a different reunion.

“Whatever age students you have, a lot of times coming back to school is about the relationships that they have with their classmates and sometimes their teachers,” Josh Lichty, Assistant Professor in Viterbo University’s School of Education, describes.

According to Medical Educational Specialists at Gundersen Health System, research shows summer break does not have a significant impact student’s academic ability.

“Their reasoning is the same, their verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, reading skills tend to stabilize and things like that,” Medical Educational Specialist at Gundersen Health System Deb Olufs explains. 

The break can reduce understanding of information students didn’t fully grasp during the previous year though.

Dr. Olufs provides an example, “‘I didn’t know what a fraction was, I don’t know what a mixed number is and we’re going between those two and I really don’t have it down.’ Your likelihood then of not having that come September is pretty high,” Dr. Olufs elaborates.

Why education professors like Josh Lichty instruct future teachers to capitalize on the information they’ve learned.

“We need to build off of what they had in the past, but we just need to remind them, ‘hey you’ve had this before, here’s how we’re building off of it,'” Lichty says.

Creating an environment that students look forward to learning in, can also help at the beginning of the year.

“As teachers, we need to make sure, for those 8 o’clock early classes, we provide that motivation with what we do for them to get them up and going,” Lichty advises.

That motivation can help eliminate some of the negatives from the beginning of a school year, but it doesn’t have to start in class. 

“It’s amazing when I work with children whose parent’s are saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe summer is over, it’s going to be another horrible school year,'” Dr. Olufs explains.

Treating school as something to dread can make the transition into the year even harder for students.

Dr. Olufs says speaking to children about school in a positive way can further decrease the negative side effects of the beginning of the school year, and help them get back into their regular routine.

Peter Lenz

Peter Lenz

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