It’s a sad reality that student life has become largely about chasing grades. This is not to say that the academic performance of students is not an important aspect. However, what needs to be kept in mind is that the child should be focused on learning as well as consistently improving his or her own academic abilities. The most powerful truth that every child needs to be taught is that learning is a skill. All of this requires some amount of reconditioning of the mind. If you are worried about your child’s academic performance and wondering if there are ways that you can boost it, the answer is a resounding yes.
At Pragyanam School, our focus is on fuelling a sense of curiosity in our students & creating learners for life. Here are some handy tips that will go a long way in sparking a love for learning in the child and helping improve their academic performance in the process.
Don’t label the child
First things first – Steer clear from putting the child in a box. If he hasn’t got good grades, refrain from labeling him as a slow learner. Any label that you put on the child is likely to become his inner voice & will stop him from going beyond it. In fact, it is important for you to recognize that the child’s grade can be a function of many factors, including but not limited to the effort he has put in, the study routine that he has followed, and more.
It is extremely important that you help the child develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset differs from a fixed mindset. As the names suggest, someone with a growth mindset believes that intelligence, abilities, and talent can be learned and improved. On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset views these traits as unchangeable over time. To encourage a growth mindset, among other things, you need to praise the child for the effort he has put in, as opposed to saying how smart he is for having done well on a test. What you will also help him do in the bargain is not to link his self-esteem with the results of the test. Equipped with a growth mindset, the child can improve his performance as well as scale over any roadblocks that come his way.
Failure is a stepping stone to success
While the above line may sound like a cliche, it is an important learning that you need to instill in the child. The child needs to be taught that when they learn something new and struggle in the process, it is simply their brain that is stepping up to perform a new task. With this understanding, the child is less likely to be frustrated when he isn’t able to perform a new task to perfection. In fact, any struggle to achieve something should be viewed as a sign of growth.
Steer clear of comparisons
It stands to reason that it is a fruitless exercise to compare your child or your child’s grades with other children. If anything, it only negatively impacts the child’s self-esteem and further sets him back, not just in terms of academics but life in general. In case the child also grows up thinking that he is not loved enough on account of his grades, it can lead to many issues in later life. While you push the child to perform to the best of his or her ability, you need to love the child that you have as opposed to the child you wish you had!
While the above are behavioral & mindset changes that you need to inculcate in yourself and in the child, below are some healthy habits that will help the child boost his or her academic performance:
It is extremely important that the child follows a consistent study routine, as opposed to studying a few days before an exam and becoming anxious in the process. Having fixed hours in which to study is important. Not only does it improve concentration and inculcate discipline, but it also ensures that the child does not have to tackle a mountain load of work at the nth hour, thereby jeopardizing both physical & mental health. What it also enables the child to do is to maintain a balance between work & leisure, therefore preventing burnout.
What is equally important is to have a designated space that is not noisy. Ensuring that there are no distractions is also key. Putting phones on “focus mode” is important so as not to be disturbed by the many pings of social media. Speaking of routines, it is also extremely important to have a healthy sleep schedule. To do that, it is important not to over-schedule activities. Also, a healthy sleep schedule demands that exposure to gadgets be limited to a few hours before sleep time.
Encourage independent learning
In today’s day, it is common for students to be running from one class to another. It is very important, therefore, to ensure that there is a designated time for self-study where the child is able to sit and revise concepts independently. This will help them imbibe the concepts and also recognize any areas that require greater focus. Children will also figure out study techniques that work best for them.
Set Academic Goals
It is important to set academic goals at the beginning of the year. A word of caution here-academic goals aren’t just about getting better grades but about learning per se. It will be good for the student to set short-term goals that are measurable and are to do with improvements he wants to see. In this case, the goals needn’t be Big, Hairy & Audacious. Instead, it will help to break them up into actionable tasks, such as – I need to spend an extra hour practicing calculus daily, for example. It is important to periodically review these goals to see how they are doing. Remember to help them celebrate small wins when they meet these goals. On the other hand, if these goals are not achieved, the idea is not for them to beat themselves up but to review & see what can be done to reach them.
Above everything, what you do will have far more value than what you say. If children see you berating yourself over failures, for example, they will subliminally absorb the same lessons. On the other hand, if they see you learning from your failures & moving on, they will do the same. Similarly, if you want the child to set goals that may be outside your comfort zone, it will help you to display the same. For instance, if you have been putting off learning a new language for a while, go ahead and do it.
To sum up
The above practices will help the child improve his or her academic performance and achievements. However, it is important to remember that you chase learning and not simply grades. It is also important that you focus on the process they follow as opposed to the final number or grade that they get. If you are able to do that, they will be able to analyze what study techniques worked for them, what they can do differently & more. Additionally, ensure that you do not overburden them. If anything, you need to spark a love for learning. It is the naturally curious learners who will not look at studies as a chore to be performed and perform well!