Turning Poor Grades Into Excelling In School

by Jim Hartley - Date: 2008-05-30 - Word Count: 402 Share This!

"Last year at the end of the school year we did a little dance because Cody made it to the next grade. For quite a while there, we weren't sure if he would. He's a bright kid, but schoolwork just seems to frustrate him. I'd come to think of him as a poor learner. My highest expectations were that he might one day work his way up to being a C student... "

Why is schoolwork such a struggle for so many teens? We believe the main reason is that most are never taught how to learn. When they are taught learning skills, they respond with, "Why didn't anyone tell me this? It makes so much sense to me now!" Until they have the basic common-sense tools of learning, they won't have the opportunity to discover how great they are.

Aside from lack of learning skills, many young people get turned off to schoolwork for a bunch of reasons that have nothing to do with their true academic ability. Maybe a string of failures has led them to develop self-defeating attitudes. They might have different learning styles than the ones their teachers are using. Their teachers may not be showing them why the subjects they're teaching matter - they may not relate to the material. They may have come to think of school as another thing adults are imposing on them - or something that gets handed to them rather than something they go after. Or maybe they're just bored.

Something often seems to happen in the teen years to extinguish the joy of learning that came naturally to them - as it does to all of us - when they were small. Without that love of learning there's little motivation for them to do well in school.

How can young people recapture their love of learning? How do they get motivated from within? How do they find out just how much they're capable of? How can they transform that apathy into enthusiasm?

It's a thrill when teens wake up to the possibility of owning their learning processes. As they discover how they learn, it hits them why certain approaches don't work well for them - and why other approaches work great. They also learn some basic skills of learning, memorizing, and studying, and working their way through a series of small victories that boost their confidence. Skills, combined with a take-charge attitude, catapult teens' academic performance in a whole new direction.

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