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Learning Your Way

American lawyer Brad Henry once said, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” It is through learning that personal development comes into fruition and change begins. Yet, learning doesn’t always occur in a classroom or a training center. Opportunities to grow are presented to us daily, but it’s understanding the learning style you need that determines if you take these opportunities or not.

Believe it or not, we all have a dominant learning style that is our “go-to,” but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one we may use. The truth of the matter, we all have a learning style that we adopt and modify to meet our needs. 

Here are the four primary learning styles and some questions to determine if it’s one you may use! Please note, the following learning styles are based on the theory of Neil Fleming’s VARK model.

 

Visual

Visual learners focus on spatial formations, preferring pictures and images to understand concepts. As the occipital lobes at the back of your brain manage spatial/visual elements, it is said this is where your brain is processing this learning.

You May Be A Visual Learner If:

You prefer to see information and the relationship between concepts.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

In most traditional spaces, the educator will provide materials or outline topics on a large screen or whiteboard. Some believe visual learners prefer to study in solitude to focus on colors, shapes and spatial flows. Try using a visual outline or a concept map to organize your notes, be sure to read the text that is associated with any diagrams or graphic visuals, and retain information easier by color coding your notes.

 

Reading / Writing

Unlike visual learners, reading/writing learners tend to learn the best when interacting with text.

You May Be A Reading / Writing Learner If:

You prefer to take notes in class, writing down the information in the way that you understand it. The physical motion of writing helps to ingrain the information.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Be sure to re-write and re-read your notes! This learning style is all about how digestible the text is to you! When reading over, take notes of the concepts or large ideas that you don’t understand. From there, go back through your textbook or other resources, and write down the ideas you did not remember.

 

Auditory

Auditory learning thrives best in a lecture-based setting. These learners take note in a person’s tone in voice, may prefer oral exams and retain information better when working in groups.

You May Be an Auditory Learner if:

You perform better for oral exams than a writing exam, participating in class discussion helps you to understand concepts better and reading text aloud helps you to remember information.

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Be sure to participate in class discussions! When you find yourself having a difficult time remembering a broad concept, try turning it into a story. Stuck on a written exam question? Try reading it aloud or under your breath to better understand what it’s asking!

 

Kinesthetic

If you loved the “head, shoulders, knees and toes” song, chances are you have some kinesthetic styles in your dominant learning style. Kinesthetic learners prefer to move while they are learning!

You May Be a Kinesthetic Learner if:

Typically, these individuals are involved in sports, art, and drama as they have excellent hand-eye coordination and quick reception. If walking around while thinking or talking aloud about a concept helps you to process and digest the information, kinesthetic learning is your learning style!

How to Use This Learning Style to Your Benefit:

Some of the best ways to understand information as a kinesthetic learner are by acting ideas out, study while standing or moving (like sitting on a balancing ball at your desk), doodling during a lecture, or studying while you’re physically engaged, such as while you’re bouncing a ball.

 

The best way to determine your learning style is by giving each one a try! While not every environment may be suitable for your style of learning, it’s crucial to understand which method you prefer early to modify for the future! 

Money Concepts Your Student Should Know Before High School

Did you know: According to the Council for Economic Education, only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course in high school. That means when it comes to learning how to budget, write a check, balance a checkbook, and pick a credit card, most young adults have had no education or experience on these matters...

Skeptical of the impact a high school course could make on your teen? A Federal Reserve report revealed that students who were exposed to a course in personal finance had an average credit score of 7 to 29 points higher than those who never took such a class.

A JA and Allstate survey found that 84% of teens look to their parents to learn about money management. So, while the chances are that your state curriculum doesn’t require students to learn about personal finances, you can prepare your child in the one environment they spend the most time – at home.  

These are our top 5 personal finance concepts that your high school student should know and how you can teach them!

1.      Budgeting

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But would your teen know the difference between income, expenses, and savings? Would they know that their expenses should not surpass their income? Teach your teen this concept by identifying the regular monthly expenses such as gas, phone bill, food, etc. as well as putting some money aside for unexpected expenses. Need a template? Print off our FREE budgeting worksheet

2.      Credit Cards

Most teens have heard the horror stories of credit cards, but do they actually know how credit works? While your teen needs to be 18 to be a credit card holder, it’s never too early to teach them how they work, what interest rates are, payment periods, and credit scores. With your teen, check out NerdWallet where both of you can search and compare various credit cards and their features!

3.      Bank Accounts and Savings

If your teen doesn’t already have a bank account, we suggest you establish one ASAP. Teach your teen about ATM fees, fees associated with individual bank accounts, online banking and how a debit card works. The best way? Hands-on learning. Once they receive their debit card and show them how to keep track of their transactions. Have your teen inquire about what perks their bank may have for a personal savings account and help him or her outline some of their goals like buying a car, affording college, or even purchasing their first home down the road!

4.     Loans

Student loans can help make college dreams come true, but can also become a nightmare down the road if not used responsibly. Be sure that you discuss the difference between federal and private loans, calculate the monthly payment for each loan (including the interest rate), as well as how it can impact their future savings. Need a personal narrative to share? Check out The Empowered Dollar

5.     Impulse Spending

When it comes to wants and needs, most teens don’t have the self-control to evaluate what is more important objectively. When your teen has their bank account set up, take the first couple months slow. Print out the transactions and go through the expenses with them. Go down one-by-one to determine if the purchase was a want or if it was a need. By doing this, you can help your teen see the bigger picture of money.

While most states do not require personal finance education, JA offers programs in all 50 states throughout the USA and that promote financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship in curriculum aligned to state standards! JA programs teach important life-long skills while advancing educational goals.

Countdown to Resolutions for Teens

How old were you when you made your first New Year’s Resolution? Do you remember what it was?

With 2019 nearly upon us, JA wanted to know if teens are making their resolutions for this upcoming year, and if so, what they were. According to a survey of 1,000 U.S. teens, conducted by Junior Achievement USA and ORC International, nearly 9 in 10 teens (88%) are planning on making New Year’s Resolutions. The resolutions they are looking to achieve:

Achieving Successful Resolutions

How do those who make resolutions, keep them?

While some have believed that a habit can stick after just 21 days, science has found this to be false! According to research conducted by the University College London, it takes an average of 66 days to create a habit.

To keep resolutions sustainable, here are our top tips for the teens that share our resolution findings:

1. Pick 1 – 2 resolutions!

Too many resolutions and you’ll be overwhelmed; yet too few and you won’t be challenging yourself. Stick with a range of 1 to 2 depending on how committed you are to the change you want for 2019!

2. Tell others about your resolution!

By sharing your resolutions with those who you are closest to will not only build a support system, but will also make you more accountable!

3. Write it down!

Everyone needs a reminder. Writing down your resolutions will give you a goal that you can’t change should the resolution get difficult. Be sure to keep the piece of paper you wrote down your resolution in a location that you will visit daily.

4. Pat yourself on the back!

It’s tough to maintain change, especially for 365 days! Break down your resolution goal into 3 “mini-goals”. The first goal should be focusing on getting you off to a good start, the second should challenge you a little further than the first, and the last mini-goal should be where you achieve your resolution. After accomplishing each goal, be sure to treat yourself! Incentives are always crucial for keeping motivation up and doubt down!

 

May your holiday season be filled with joy and may your resolutions be full of success! 

 

Taking the Stress out of Holiday Spending

The holidays are upon us! This means you’ll be spending more time with the ones you love AND more money. From Black Friday to holiday December sales, buying during the season of giving has never been easier or more appealing. Once January comes around your generous giving may turn into gifting regret.

To keep your bank account happy during the season of holiday shopping, here are our top tips and tricks!

1.     Plan ahead

-       The holiday season has always been a time for joy, family, great food and, of course, anxiety. Like many Americans, you may find yourself struggling to find the perfect gift for the most important people in your life. During the year, you may come up with a great idea that you can wrap up and use in December, but by the time holiday sales are starting, you may not remember what genius gift idea you had! A trick to combat this brain baffle is to create a list (in a notebook or even on your phone) or, create a secret Pinterest board. By identifying gift ideas early, you can keep an eye on prices to get the best deal.

2.     Structured Spending

-       As the pressure for generosity becomes a detrimental evil on your bank account, it’s essential to determine your income, expenses, and your financial goals. Don’t feel obligated to spend more than you should just because it’s the giving season. If you haven’t, create a monthly budget for November and December. Determine what expenses you will have coming up and look at the income you will have left over after you’ve paid your bills. Then, for the most important part, actually stick to the spending limits that you give yourself. You’ll thank yourself in the New Year.

3.     Don’t Settle

-       Put away the scissors and the Sunday coupons, there’s a new app called Honey which automatically finds and applies coupon codes while you shop online. While this won’t replace other online retailers that can beat one site’s pricing, it can help to save a few dollars for the next item on your gift list.

Prepare the Bank: College is Coming

Did you know: In 2016, students who were starting their first four years of college paid 28% MORE for college than the undergrads a decade ago did and 65% more than students did 20 years ago? Student loans account for the second highest consumer debt category, which is why it’s crucial for high school grads to consider how a student loan will impact them after graduating college.

In 2016, the average student loan was $37,172, the following year the average student loan debt for those graduating in 2017 was $39,400. A Junior Achievement (JA) survey revealed over half of high school juniors (52%) admitted they didn’t know the cost of college tuition and only 59% of high school seniors had $5,000 saved for college.

Before going in to a financial panic, here are some resources to prepare yourself or your teen for life after college:

Cost Breakdown

Wouldn’t it be great to know the breakdown costs of achieving your goals and dreams?

Now you can with JA Build Your Future! Not only is this app FREE, but it also provides teens with a roadmap from choosing a career to calculating the cost of reaching career milestones. 

Career Discovery

Not every 18-year-old high school grad knows what career path to go down, which is why JA My Way is a great tool! From a personality quiz to job matches, teens explore what they can do now to prepare for tomorrow!

Nurturing STEM Interests

Interested in a career that involves science, technology, engineering or math? You’ll want to check out JA Assembling Your Career.

Once there is a game plan for what career interests you or your teen, it’s necessary to start your financial planning. Here are some ways you can get financial assistance without taking out a student loan:

Fill Out Your FAFSA

Most of us have heard of FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), but what is it? FAFSA is an annual form that is submitted by a current or prospective college student residing in the USA for financial aid for federal grants, work-study, and loans. Various factors determine whether a student is eligible to receive financial assistance, including adjusted gross income, IRA deductions and payments, and many more. Click here for a list of what’s considered by FAFSA. As some states and universities distribute financial aid on a “first-come, first-serve basis,” it’s essential to get your forms turned in ASAP. Check out FAFSA FAQ here!

       Start Saving

The more you save, the less you will have to worry about down the road. All you need to do is start a savings account for your anticipated college expenses. Every little bit you can put away into this account will help.

Look for Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to help fund your college education. Depending on the scholarship specifics, candidates may be chosen based on elements like GPA or a specific interest. To explore scholarship options, click here!

 

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