Struggling in School – A Real Problem

by | Parent Resources, Skill Development

Children Struggling in School Require your Attention

When parents first send their children into the educational world they send them with high hopes. They hope the experience will go smoothly; that their children will be educated, and that the experience will be both challenging and rewarding for them. While there is an expected number of glitches and obstacles to overcome throughout this time, much faith is left in the idea that it is part of growing up and they will overcome the poor grades or poor social life. Unfortunately, what more and more parents are seeing are children struggling in school, disheartened children with low self esteem, a low sense of self worth and a non-existent social circle. It is hardly the experience that parents expect. In a perfect world parents send their children to school and they come home each day happy and with high grades. The feedback from their teachers is positive and they are interacting well with the other children. Unfortunately, today more parents are seeing the opposite – sad children, poor grades, negative feedback and antisocial behaviour. Obviously the reason for this can’t be linked to one specific explanation, however Dr.Richard Selznik an American psychologist and professor developed a unique term called the “shut-down learner.” Shut down learners as described by Selznik are those who thrive by engagement, hands on activities and spatial-visual tasks but struggle in their ability to grasp core concepts in reading and writing.Many children are struggling in school with learning. Their learning difficulties are often diagnosed as ADD, ADHD or another learning disability and then a prescription is written to correct the issue. e unfortunate fact is that if children are not diagnosed with a learning disability they are expected to learn at the same pace as the rest of the students without any further assistance. There are a large number of children that aren’t diagnosed with a disability yet they cannot keep up with the learning curve. These children are by no means less intelligent, they simply need to learn a different way. These children are considered by Selznik to be the shutdown learners. They often exhibit characteristics such; weaknesses in reading, writing, and spelling, low self esteem, increased avoidance of school tasks, anger towards school, and no motivation.Shutdown learners are students who do not necessarily struggle with learning, but struggle with the method in which they are taught. Selznik explains that, “In effect, they are resistant or immune to traditional education.”

Like children with medically diagnosed learning disabilities, children struggling in school need to be recognized as soon as possible. Shutdown learners can avoid the struggle they’ll face in traditional educational institutes by; engaging in an alternate teaching method, allowing themselves extra time to complete school work and incorporating high spatial activities into their curriculum such as building, drawing and hands on learning.

Helping your child get the most out of their educational experience can be as simple as assessing how they learn and finding a school that incorporates their learning style into everyday teachings. While they may be able to tell you that they are frustrated at school it is vital to contact their teachers to fully understand their learning progress at school and assess if a new method of teaching would help them learn, or if they would better respond to a different school environment, such as a private school or arranging private tutor sessions.