It’s a new year and time to make a resolution to do better in school. But resolutions can be difficult to keep…UNLESS you have a concrete plan with clear, attainable goals.
It’s not enough for your teenager to say, “I’ll do better.” In addition to the desire, he needs to take real steps, using actual strategies and tools, to improve his grades. You can help your teen by providing the framework for success – one small, “doable” goal at a time. Try to keep judgment out of it by praising his efforts, letting him know you believe in his ability to succeed, and listening to his perspective; then, work with him to take big, vague, potentially difficult goals (“I’ll get all A’s next term”) and break them down into manageable chunks (“I’ll improve my science test scores in the next term by using the Study Smarter, Not Harder note-taking and study strategies I learned, including reviewing my notes for 10 minutes each night”). This way, rather than setting himself up for failure without a real plan for reaching a goal, your teen will have something specific he can do to actively change his habits; and, you’ll have something specific to check in with him about and make sure he’s doing.
Don’t Necessarily Try This on Your Own
As with other new-year resolutions, going it alone can make it harder to succeed. Working in a small group or one-to-one with a trained tutor at a set and regular time makes a big difference by keeping your teen on track and accountable. This model can also take the pressure off your parent/child relationship (it’s already hard enough living with teens in the house without the added stress of trying single-handedly to help them with their grades!). Building Confidence Leads to Better Outcomes Creating academic success is a building block to future lifelong success skills. Strong, effective study and organizational skills are essential for academic success, yet most schools DO NOT directly teach their students how to develop these skills – students are expected to figure it out on their own. In addition, research demonstrates that a positive attitude toward learning can greatly affect a student’s school performance. Building your teen’s confidence and skills as a learner can help improve his school grades and have long-term beneficial effects. Rhode Island Tutorial knows these crucial skills CAN and SHOULD be taught. Study Smarter, Not Harder provides the proven secrets to get better grades. Find out more and/or sign up for Study Smarter, Not Harder – sessions are offered periodically: the next class begins March 1st. Rhode Island Tutorial offers Study Smarter, Not Harder for Middle Schoolers, too! Get clear tips for setting and reaching goals with your children from this article by Lexi Walters Wright.