Factors of school success


The best learners have 4 key qualities under their belts. And of course, while all children have different temperaments, if we do our best to foster these traits we will be helping put in place the very bedrock of success.  They are:

• A positive attitude

• Persistence

• Resilience

• Good motivation

A positive attitude: these are the children who set off for school in the morning believing they are going to have a great day, learn something interesting, and enjoy being with their friends. This attitude towards school stems from a positive attitude they have learned at home, so as parents we need to practice talking to our children in positive ways.  We need to: praise them for their achievements, praise them for trying, and encourage them to see themselves as good and capable people.

Persistence: We need to foster grit and “stickability” in our children by making it clear that mistakes are a normal part of learning and that persistence pays off.  Let them see that we often have to try and try again to get something right.  Praise them when they keep on trying, and if something is really going badly for them, help them deal with their frustration by thinking about ways of doing it differently, or taking a break and then re-visiting it.

Resilience: Life isn’t always easy, friendly and pleasant.  Much as we ache to protect our children from all things unpleasant, we aren’t going to be able to.  What matters is not the setback-but how robustly children are able to deal with it.  We need to build up our children’s confidence so that small blows won’t knock them off their perch, and help them come to understand how difficult situations can arise.  We need to tell them mistakes are an essential part of learning, and talk to them about how the world is made up of all kinds of people, who behave in different kinds of ways, and that problems that result from this are not always their fault.  We need to show them how to look for ways to make a difficult situation better, and how, if nothing works, to learn to let go of the situation and move on with their lives.

Good motivation: Children learn best when they understand why they are doing something, and can see a good reason for mastering it.  Motivation takes time to root and grow in younger children, but it pays enormous dividends later.  Foster it by encouraging them to learn because it is fun and enjoyable, because it helps them to do and understand new things, and because it gives them a new feeling about themselves and their abilities.  That way, as they get older they will come to know how to work for themselves and their own goals, and not just to please other people.

FELICITY TONKINSON – Educational Psychologist

Offices in Umhlanga and Ballito,

Ph: 082-4872674 or 031-5612789

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