Recognizing Student Struggles 7 of 7: Identifying the Warning Sign--(Lack of ) Determination

This article (the last in the Recognizing Student Struggles series) explains several ways to assess a student's progress and level of determination based on their responses to failure.

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Some students actively seek out their assignments, and try to take control of the situation right away. A child who takes this approach does not like surprises. Other students are more passive. They take assignments as they are given and apply themselves according to the teacher's instructions. Both approaches can be very effective and yield high levels of success.

Regardless of how your student typically learns or tackles projects and assignments, it's easy for their determination to suffer when they experience a setback. Failure can result in self-defeating behavior, decreased output, and a lack of enthusiasm. It's important to recognize these behaviors as indications that your child has encountered a roadblock and their determination is beginning to suffer. As a parent it's your responsibility to act on your child's behalf.

A more aggressive student will act differently after having encountered something too challenging or difficult. Since such a student is used to taking charge with their lessons, a failure can hurt their pride. If your student begins thinking negatively about their ability level, take it as a sign that they've encountered a problem in school. Responding to suggested activities with 'I can't do it' or 'It's not like I'm any good at that' should tell you that your normally confident student has stumbled.

The student who is more comfortable with handling work as they encounter it will also exhibit tell-tale behaviors if they fail or meet an obstacle. Sometimes these children place a lot of value on the approval of their teachers. Even a child who constantly completes their assignments with success will experience a blow to their determination when a teacher points out that they could have done better. The student might feel as if they have failed not only themselves but the teacher also.

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