Many of us know kids who seemed headed for disaster when they were in school. Maybe they flunked out of classes, or they did drugs, or they were depressed loners. But then something happened later and they blossomed into healthy, happy adults who contributed to society in important ways.
Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life
. How did they accomplish this?
Here are some ways educators can support kids so that the children get success.
- Provide opportunities for kids to feel they belong and to contribute in meaningful ways.
One way to prevent this is to provide kids with important jobs and responsibilities that teachers and others value. Maybe a kid who talks a lot would be a great student ambassador for their school, or a child who is very artistic can create a mural for the classroom. Perhaps an older child can become a tutor for a younger child, or a child who has trouble sitting still can be responsible for delivering messages between classrooms. Giving kids responsibilities like these can go a long way in helping feel they belong and have something important to contribute to others and to their community.
- Reward struggle as well as achievement.
kids are praised for their efforts more than their achievements, allowing for and even encouraging mistakes. Some teachers go so far as to reward kids for sharing their struggles, which gives kids the message that everyone struggles and that “being smart” is not a fixed trait delegated to the few. It can also help to teach kids the science behind this the plasticity of the brain and the way that memory works through programs like Brain ology
, which make it fun and interactive.
- Be a talent scout.
The opportunity to do what we love to do and do well can reveal personal strengths and qualities that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Find children’s unique strengths and talents, then highlight and celebrate them. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
can be a helpful resource.
- Change the school social climate.
Sometimes moving to a new classroom or attending a different school can make a big difference for struggling students and give them the message that failure is not all about them. Relocating to a neighborhood where parents watch over kids and where new peer influences replace disruptive ones, improves a student’s chances to succeed.
- Never underestimate the positive impact you can have on a struggling child’s later life course.
Predicting with absolute certainty what will become of us in the future based upon what may have happened to us in the past is simply impossible. One reason is that lives can change in very significant ways in response to entirely unpredictable. Some teachers are creating the meaningful roles while others are taking the time to send e-mails, text messages, or letters to parents each week celebrating their child’s accomplishments. Teachers are experts at finding creative ways to help their students shine, and when they do, they’re opening the door to potential turning points in the lives of struggling children.
I would argue that we should champion those who during their childhood years were stretched beyond their limits of emotional endurance, then managed to overcome adversity and go on to lead meaningful and productive lives. These people can provide us with new remedies, ones that can potentially prevent serious learning, behavioral, and emotional problems, reduce juvenile crime, school dropout, and substance abuse, and increase human productivity at work and in life.