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As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

How to Avoid Summer School Next Year

Many students will have their vacations interrupted because

they have to attend summer school. These are the students who

failed one or more of their courses during the regular school

year. They can either moan and groan and make life miserable for

themselves and their parents or they can make good use of this

experience so that summer school will never be necessary again.  

The first thing to do is to figure out what went wrong

during the regular school year. The following are just some

possibilities to explore. Did the student decide not to do any

work in the class because he took a dislike to the teacher? Or,

even if he liked the teacher, did he decide to demonstrate

rebelliousness by talking back and thus become a hero to his

peers? If so, the student needs to understand clearly the

relationship between his behavior in school and loss of his

summer freedom.  

Another possibility is that the student does not know how to

make use of the teacher’s expertise to help him to succeed. 

Early in the semester the student should describe to the

teacher his learning style and what works best for him. This

step is especially important if the teacher’s style is very

different and perhaps incompatible with the student’s. For

example, if he cannot do long, written assignments but can orally

give a report, he should tell the teacher and try to reach a

compromise. The compromise for a student skilled in art might be

to employ that medium in his report. He should enlist the

teacher’s aid early so that he can use his strengths to succeed

and not always be penalized for his weaknesses.

If he cannot sit still for a long period of time, he should

tell the teacher this and work out some system whereby he can

move about either in the classroom or by going outside. If he is

taking medication which makes him seem tired and distracted , he

should inform the teacher so that she does not interpret his

yawns as disrespect.

The student who is easily distracted should ask to sit in

the front row preferably away from the door. The student who is

a poor test taker or does not do well on timed tests should tell

the teacher and ask for help. The student who has difficulty

finishing homework assignments because of poor study skills

should seek the teacher’s aid in learning better skills. 

In general, the student should always make the assumption

that the teacher’s job is to help him to succeed. That is why

they are paid and what they are trained to do. Most teachers

really want their students to succeed. However, the teacher can

only help if the student tells her why he is having difficulty.

Instead of asking for help, many students just give up or resort

to misbehavior when they are failing.

Summer school is an excellent opportunity to practice

teacher-pleasing behavior mainly because the classes are usually

smaller. The student can practice how to talk to the teacher in

such a way that he takes advantage of all the expertise she has

to offer. It is also an opportunity for the student to begin to

pin-point the basic problem that makes him unsuccessful in

school. The problem could run the gamut from his not knowing how

to study to a physical problem such as an auditory processing

deficit which would make it difficult for him to understand

classroom lectures. 

Since the student is already going to summer school, in

addition to the course he is repeating, he should take skill

courses like typing and computers. These skills ease the

mechanics of completing assignments, yielding better and more

readable papers, resulting in improved grades. All in all,

summer school does not have to be viewed as a disaster. It could

be the saving or making of a future scholar.




Posted in Behavior, From Experience, Getting the Most For Your Child, Parenting, Teachers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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