Five Steps On How To Improve Your Child's Math Grades To A's
Does your child struggle in math, get discouraged, and even stop trying hard enough to stay current with their classmates? If so, you already know that this painful pattern can foreclose your child's options in the future. Parents can now use recent research on motivation to guide their child out of failure. Dr. Ran Jarrell, one of those researchers, recommends these 5 steps on how to improve your child’s math grades.
STEP ONE: Apply the discovery that your child's EFFORT, not ability, decides their math achievement and grades.
Researchers tell us that children who try the hardest and longest in math usually perform the best. Successful students in math work diligently at it daily; those who do poorly in math actually study less than half as much as their higher-achieving classmates. This is so even though stronger and weaker math students as groups have about the same IQ!
So if you have a math student struggling at home, you serve them best if you believe they can improve by studying more and if you encourage them by saying, “Keep working on your math a while longer, and you will do fine. I’ll sit with you and help where you need it. Besides, did you know that watching you work on things is one of my favorite pass times?"
STEP TWO: Use discoveries about how to strengthen your child’s study effort in math.
Researchers have found that adults and children alike will only continue to work on something difficult, such as math, if they believe there is a good chance of succeeding in it. When a child concludes that they cannot succeed in math today, they stop. Belief that they can succeed is absolutely critical, say researchers.
Your job as a parent is to (a) believe that your child can succeed in math with a little more work at it and (b) express that belief in ways your child understands, such as saying, “Remember all of those problems you solved yesterday after you worked on them a while?
You are really good at working a little longer on the hard ones and beating them. Let’s look at these; I’ll bet you can beat them too.” You should offer honest praise your child’s persistence, such as saying, “You put enough work into these problems to solve them. You deserve to be proud of yourself. It’s fun to watch you play a little longer with these problems and beat them.”
STEP THREE: Listen to how your child explains earlier failures in math so that you can offer useful encouragement.
A child’s belief that they will succeed (or fail) in math in the future is shaped by how they explain their earlier math performance. If that child explains a low math test score by saying, “I’ve got no ability in math” or “I’m dumb in math,” then that child sees only failure in their math future. With that belief, the child will stop trying as soon as problems become difficult, and that belief in failure becomes self-fulfilling.
Likewise, a child who says, “I do bad in math because math is really too hard for me” will stop believing she can succeed as soon as challenging problems arrive. Remember that stopping too early is the chief pattern that leads to failure. We all need hope to continue working on anything that is challenging.
Your job as parent/coach is to model (out loud and often) another explanation of the failure that offers your child hope for future success, such as, “Yes you failed your last math test, but that was because you needed to study more for it. I’ll help you study more for the next one so you’ll be ready. You don't have to make this change alone.” This explanation suggests that your child (and you) can change the result on the next test by simply studying more, with, perhaps, a little added help here and there.
STEP FOUR: Use these strategies to help your child believe the future has math success for them.
First, remember that your child needs a way to explain the past that allows them to believe they can succeed in the future. You may be the only person on earth who can provide that explanation and belief by saying them out loud.
Second, watch and listen closely so that you can softly express admiration for your child’s EFFORTS (even when you see mistakes), and laugh and enjoy this time with your child. You are creating here a new way for your child to define their relationship with math. This takes love and patience on your part. The fact that you are still reading this suggests that you already have these in abundance.
Third, make statements showing that you notice your child’s EFFORT, and that their ability and this effort will assure success in math. Here are examples.
“You are trying really hard, and you deserve to be proud of yourself. It’s fun to see you doing so well.”
“You are learning to focus on the problem and not let a little mistake upset you. That is a good sign!”
“I am learning something really great about you – you grab hold of a problem and shake it until you get the answer.”
“Your power to concentrate is terrific.”
If you believe in your child’s progress in math and express your admiration for the effort and courage you witness, your child will adopt your views and push far ahead in the hours and months ahead.
STEP FIVE: Get experienced help if you need it.
Notice that none of his involves your having to be an Einstein in mathematics yourself. If your own math insights are strong, you can offer those insights. If not, get some help. Every community has tutors glad to work with your child in math. Some tutors will travel to your home for tutoring sessions; some tutor in their homes.
You can find an excellent tutor through your newspaper. The exciting field of interactive one-to- one online tutoring is emerging where the parent schedules their child’s tutoring sessions on the family’s home computer. This convenience plus children’s enthusiasm for computers make online tutoring the wave of the future.
You will always have the greatest influence on your child’s future by continuing to praise your child’s persistent effort, a humbling thought and a glorious opportunity. By following the 5 steps on how to improve your child’s math grades, you as a parent or guardian will have a dramatic impact on your child’s success in math.
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