When learning something new it can be incredibly useful to find out what works from people who are already successful in that field.
Conversely, you can also learn a lot from people who haven’t done so well…
Success (or not) at school is a great example of this.
Not surprisingly, kids who do well at school normally have very similar attitudes towards studying and doing their schoolwork. While kids who don’t do so well also have a number of things in common.
Over the years, we’ve noticed two common attributes of students who achieve poor results at school.
We want to share these with you, so if your child has one or both of these attributes you can nip them in the bud as soon as possible.
1. They have no confidence in their ability at school
If a student has an underlying belief that they aren’t all that good at school, it’s going to be quite difficult for them to get an A.
Their subconscious minds will stop them from trying hard, they’ll stop themselves from putting their hands up in case they’re wrong, and they’ll often second guess themselves when trying to answer something.
As a tutor, I constantly see students who know the answers but are afraid to write them down. They always ask, “Do I do this next? And then this? I’m not sure…” They need assurance that they’re not about to make a mistake before they attempt to answer.
Is that the answer? What if I’m wrong? Panic! Give up…
This lack of confidence can be a hard obstacle to overcome, but it can be done.
First, your child may just need a bit of encouragement.
It’s amazing how much of an effect knowing someone believes in you has. When your child knows that you’re totally rooting for them, they’ll become more confident in their own abilities and be more likely to give it their all.
This encouragement should be more constructive than a simple, “you can do it!”. You taking a genuine interest in their subjects and actively helping them with homework and assignments will be proof of your support, and give them an invaluable boost to your child’s confidence.
Second – practice makes perfect.
Anyone can succeed at high school if they put their minds to it. As we’ve said time and time again, studying is a learnt skill that anyone can master.
Your child may simply need to put in more time and effort into school; practice their math problems, write mock essays, and get comfortable with what they have to do.
Maybe they just need to get the ball rolling, then they’ll see that in fact they are capable of studying and getting good grades when they put the work in.
And this leads us nicely onto attribute number two…
2. They think all that studying involves is staring at textbooks
But in fact there are an endless number of techniques that a student can use to help them memorize and recall information. Your child’s goal should be to figure out what techniques work for them.
They may not remember much when they read a bland textbook, but they can easily recall the exact same information when it’s presented differently, say in a video or audio format.
Understanding what learning styles help your child study most effectively will help them figure out what study techniques they should be utilizing.
If they haven’t already, get your child to find out their learning style via our learning styles quiz.
This could transform your child’s attitude towards school and studying from unmotivated and disheartened to encouraged and hard-working. Studying may no longer be perceived as a pointless task, but an important part of your child’s overall success at school.
As you can see, these two common attributes of high school students who aren’t reaching their academic potential have absolutely nothing to do with intellectual capacity. Whilst it is frustrating that there are so many students who lack confidence in their ability at school, we should all be looking at positive side of this; that something can be done about it!
There’s absolutely no need for your child to achieve anything but their best at school. A confidence boost and some smart study techniques could be all that’s needed to turn your child into a straight A student.
Image Credit: Hanz Gerwitz