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Good morning,Yizhong! My name is Miss Anna and I’ve been a teacher here atyour school for 4 years. I'm here to give you a different perspectiveon self-study, because I have seen American students succeed in thisarea.

Americanstudents from the earliest period see education as an individualactivity, not a competition within a group. That means they areaccustomed to competing only with themselves. For example, if I get85% on the first test, my only goal will be to improve on that scorefor the next time, no matter what others around me have done. Infact, I might never know my classmates’ scores because anAmerican teacher will never tell one student another student’smark. This individualistic attitude from an early time sets the tonefor the rest of the student’s education.

Not onlyscores are personal, though. The American educational system treatseach student as an individual, as well. Teachers tell students thateach one may have a different learning style (such asvisual---learning more by seeing, auditory---learning more by whatyou hear, or tactile---learning more by touching or moving) and soeach student needs to find his/her own preferred learning method.Once a student knows which activities maximize his/her learning,he/she will be able to plan self-study more efficiently. Forinstance, I am a visual learner, so I know I need to take notesduring class and not only listen to the information. If I can seewhat I have been taught, that vastly improves my chances ofremembering it.

SoAmericans practice self-study habits from an early age, but thequestion remains: “Why?” Why should we know how to studyby ourselves and practice that skill until we are good at it? Theanswer is simple: because your parents, teachers, and/or boss willnot be with you every moment for the rest of your life. Youindependently need to learn how to organize your time, make a studyschedule, and force yourself to follow your own plans if you are everto succeed in self-study. The determination, persistence, andstrength of character that would make you follow through on your ownarrangements will be of great help to you in overcoming difficultiesyou may face in the future.

In addition,Americans believe that education is not just a series of painfulexams to be passed, but a preparation for real life in society. If bythe time I graduate from high school I already know how to manage myown time, juggle all the activities I participate in, and canmotivate myself to study hard, I will be much better prepared forlife in university. And in American university life, I will be evenmore independent to the point that my success or failure depends onlyon me. Then these same organizational and study skills I learnedgrowing up will carry me through university successfully and allow meto work well in my career. As a case in point, if two people in mydepartment are both given the same task, but I finish mine on time orearly (because I can organize my time and motivate myself), my bosswill be happier with me and may consider me when promotions becomeavailable.

You all arestudents in China, but the same thing holds true here: self-study isa good habit that prepares you for success in your further study andwork. This may seem like an insignificant trick to develop, but it’snot a small thing at all. I won’t lie to you guys, realself-study is difficult, although that doesn’t mean it’simpossible! It is worth investing the time and energy in yourself,and motivating yourself to study right now, so that you willbecome a better student, worker, and citizen in the future!