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Tips for the First Weeks of School for Struggling Students

Posted by Mollie Shaw on

Students cannot learn if they are stressed, anxious or fearful. How is your first week of school going?

What are some ways that you, as the parent, can help your child be emotionally prepared to learn, and to love to learn?

First, take the pressure from grades off. Although good grades are important for getting into college and applying for scholarships, the focus in elementary and middle school should not be on academic performance. Instead, the focus of school needs to be on growth for the whole person. Having a growth mindset has been researched recently as one of the key factors in student success. Students with the growth mindset are resilient when they face struggles and they know that struggle is good because it results in growth. This growth mindset allows students to see their own progress and take responsibility for it, instead of attributing their success or failure to outside causes.

The emotional well-being of your student can be improved by setting several short, more intense study periods instead of one long one for homework; by commenting on their character accomplishments (“You had a lot of self-control to stick with that problem!”) and by never doing for your student what they can do for themselves. Students who keep progress monitoring charts like to see their own improvement over time.

Encourage good struggle and don’t see it as though something is wrong. Only through confident, patient struggle is true development achieved. Grades are artificial and don’t last a lifetime, but learning to take responsibility for one’s own learning and being able to struggle well will prepare them for social, emotional and academic success.

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