Little Adjustments That Help Kids Overcome Academic Challenges
In a perfect world, all our kids would grow up to be positive, happy, and successful individuals, but is it possible? Growing up in itself is very complex and difficult, with a fuzzy understanding of the world outside, layered with multiple instructions.
Every day our children encounter numerous problems: boundaries & complex instructions, peer pressure, over-expectations, learning challenges, performance stress, etc. It influences our child’s overall development in more ways than we can imagine.
Not finding a way to overcome issues and academic challenges, and not being able to talk about them makes kids insecure and vulnerable.
Resultantly, they doubt their abilities, which starts reflecting on their performance and social behaviour.
Ultimately, they may resort to actions/reactions, earning labels like ‘problem child’ or ‘poor performer’. How do we help them overcome academic problems? How do we ensure academic excellence? Let’s find out.
Overcoming Academic Challenges: It’s All In The Little Details!
- Asking Questions To Identify Problem Areas
How many times have our little ones not been able to decide what and how to study? How many times have they made excuses for not studying or skipping school? We may not find it unusual because many children act like that. However, these are just the starting signs of future problems.
Academic excellence is influenced not just by cognitive factors, but non-cognitive factors like environment, emotional state, company, self-regulation, motivation, grit, etc.
Research says that these factors can impact a child’s learning potential and academic well-being, in both academic and non-academic contexts. Sometimes, non-cognitive academic factors, like the learning material, classroom expectations, grading policies, etc. may affect the child’s academic tenacity. The other times, kids are affected by their socio-cultural environment (e.g., emotional and economic security, health, family stability, safety, parenting, etc.).
As parents & facilitators, it is upon us to find the ‘why’ and ‘how’ these non-cognitive factors are affecting our children. Asking kids questions will help us break into their mind to discover underlying emotions and experiences, the knowledge and skills they possess and how all of it is affecting their well-being.
Most children may not be able to express the reason in as many words. Conversations open windows of million opportunities for them. If we can be attentive to their stories, their narratives, and their body language, then we would be able to find clues most of the time. Searching for clues is the first step towards helping them.
Talking to them about their favourite and least favourite subjects, their classes and teachers, and where they think they’re lacking gives us clarity on how & what they need to develop further.
2. Empathising With Everyday Experiences
More often than not, we share problems with each other because we want to be heard than the fact that we need a solution. Same applies to children across different age groups.
Big classes bring about bigger challenges, often rooted in smaller and more fundamental issues. Many at times, kids fall behind in classes because they don’t know where to start. We need to develop ‘affective empathy’ towards little ones to understand their perspective and experiences.
It makes them feel acknowledged. Also, with our support, they can prioritise and solve problems autonomously. The following exercise is a good step towards emotional bonding.
Ask your kid to list down all academic and non-academic activities. Tell them to mark the ones important to them. It’ll give you an insight into their priorities and thought process. If the priorities are aligned with their academic goals, you can help them set a duration to finish those tasks. If not, then help them understand why and what they need to prioritise first.
This approach turns children into great problem-solvers.
3. Developing A Deeper Understanding Of The Academic Content
What do English, Science, Math, SST, etc., all have in common? All subjects require mindful reading, which is why children should be taught reading and comprehension at an early age.
“A survey says around 41% of the parents report their kids don’t enjoy reading. Probably because they can’t imagine, comprehend, and relate to the written concepts.”
Storytelling is a simple and effective way to spark their curiosity and imagination, which may encourage them to read on their own. Urging thinking before reading, and practising different styles of reading (e.g., slow and silent or fast and aloud) improves comprehension.
That’s not all. Academic success is a by-product of many more cognitive/ non-cognitive factors combined. Yes, it’s possible to raise academically tenacious and successful children if we can identify the factors affecting their growth, and help them develop skills (like creativity, problem-solving, adaptability, communication, etc.) to achieve academic excellence.
This is where a school plays an important role in a child’s basic education. A school is a place where children share the same academic space, thoughts, and capacities that could be remodelled to shape their future. As a school, we’re aware of this fact and are taking steps to nurture the innate abilities, natural curiosity, and independent spirit in children to help them develop the mindset and skills that will turn them into better learners. Therefore, our question to you is what would you choose for your child — ‘Education for life or just livelihood?