Building A Successful Environment For Our Children To Learn
Have you ever wondered how you can best set your child up for success in school? If you’re a parent, you’ve probably thought about it constantly since before your child was in school.
You may recall, in recent months, we published articles about learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD. While we can test for those and get you results in a timely manner, most of those things are out of your control.
One of our core beliefs at PTI is to put you in the driver’s seat and to empower our clients. Therefore, today we’re going to discuss some of the environmental factors that can help your children succeed, both at home and in the classroom.
Paul Tough is a principle, researcher, and an author. He focuses mainly on the achievement gap between children who grow up in low-income households and those who don’t, looking at specific ways in we educators and parents alike can motivate and connect with children so they can thrive.
The Achievement Gap and Education Difficulties
Why does this matter? About 51% of public school students live in low-income households. Also, nearly two decades of targeted efforts at reducing the achievement gap has led to dismal results. That should alarm everyone on all fronts.
According to Tough, one of the main predictors for success in school is found when students achieve and build non-cognitive skills— character strengths such as resilience, positivity, self-control, delaying gratification, self-management, social awareness, and others.
Here’s the clinch: it all comes down to positive response to stress.
Sounds rather ambiguous doesn’t it? Researchers and educators are still figuring out exactly how to do it but there are environmental indicators that are linked with student success in both academic and non-cognitive skills. It probably won’t be too much of a surprise that building positive relationships with authority figures is important as well as how children and those authority figures handle stress.
What To Do?
- Reinforce your child’s stress with positive affirmations: You’re safe. We are going to make it. We’re here to protect you and provide for you. Life is full of surprises.
- Foster motivation through providing opportunities for children to feel competent, personally connected to others, and to be autonomous.
- If your child gets in trouble find ways to give them choices rather than impose more control. Also, make sure that any punishment that is imposed doesn’t hinder their academic competence. If need be, help your child repair his or her relationship with their teacher.
- Be on guard for negative messages surrounding the school environment or even the home environment: I don’t belong. It’s not safe here. Everyone here is out to get me. Rather, help your child find ways in which they do belong in a positive way and help reinforce the notion that they can succeed through their efforts and that this school work has value.
In the end, research has found that developing these non-cognitive skills, even if it doesn’t always reflect in standardized test scores, will lead to graduating college and an increase in earning potential.
It seems simple doesn’t it? We’re not here to bash parents, “troubled youth,” or to stereotype. We just want to help and we want you to know that we care about you, your child, your family, and everyone being successful in the long run. While we can’t control your school environment, we do offer testing as well as counseling to support the home environment.
Our mission is to reduce barriers to you and your loved ones leading the most productive and healthiest life possible. We’re willing to go to the extra mile and we want you to know that we have you back! If you’d like more information about how PTI can help address mental health and emotional barriers to your optimal state of health, please give us a call today.