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*STUDENTS* Decide on a Topic

Tags

Social-Emotional Learning All Ages Strategy

Skills

Flexible Thinking

*STUDENTS* Decide on a Topic

If your student struggles to choose a project topic

Checklist To Pick A Topic

  1. Commit to the amount of time you will spend on making a decision. For a short paper this shouldn't be long. For a major assignment you can give yourself more time and sleep on your choices.
  2. Brainstorm a list of options. Write down whatever comes to mind. Don't pre-judge.
  3. Decide on a few key criteria to evaluate the items on your list, such as the availability of references, the materials you might need, the amount of time it is likely to take, etc.
  4. Review each item on the list relative to the criteria and begin to eliminate choices. Consider using one star for each criterion met, and choose the item with the most stars.
  5. If there are still two or more options remaining and you still cannot decide, consider flipping a coin between the two best options or asking someone else what they think and why.
  6. Try not to look back once you made your decision, especially for a short assignment. Remind yourself you used a good process to decide and you picked the best choice. Focus on the work and not the choice.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Many students can quickly get overwhelmed by the need to make what they view as a big decision, particularly students with weaker flexible thinking. They often think that there might only be one good decision and fear not making it, when the reality is that there are always a few good options. Adults can help students get closer to two or three good options and then let them choose. This way they feel personal ownership and responsibility over their final choice but still keep them moving along efficiently.