Become an Advocate for Your Child's Education

Attitude

Performance in the classroom is influenced directly by attitude. Positive attitude makes for a better student, while negative attitude hinders learning. Attitude will either give the student the will to try, or to give up without trying.

Determining whether your child will pass or fail a subject can prove complicated, especially if your child appears to be understanding and liking the subject yet brings home a disagreeable report card. Or, perhaps your child might be exceptionally strong in certain areas but weak in others. How do we solve both problems? Let us look at the structures of both positive and negative attitudes toward school.

Positive and Negative attitudes

Components of a positive attitude are:

  • The subject is easy
  • The subject is one in which the student desires a career
  • The student has been frequently/habitually exposed to the subject
  • Parents may take an interest in the subject
  • Effective teacher and/or resources
  • The student comprehends and participates in class
  • The student has the will to do his or her best

Components of a negative attitude are:

  • The subject is confusing
  • The student might have missed an important piece of information or concept that has deterred learning
  • The student rarely has exposure to the subject
  • The parents might push for the student to excel in a subject of no interest to them
  • The parents might not enjoy the subject or they convey its unimportance to the child
  • Parents might discourage the child by assuming that he or she won't understand the material without being given the benefit of the doubt
  • A learning or physical disability might be present
  • Poorly skilled teacher and/or weak resources
  • The student has poor study habits
  • The student has poor health
  • The student wants to do badly in order to obtain attention from parents or teacher

Under the above conditions, an opinion of certain subjects is fostered. It is up to an observant parent to aid an interested learner, or provide help to a frustrated underachiever.

A child with a positive attitude remains confident about himself and is eager to learn. Although this child might not achieve straight A's, his ability to score above-average is significantly high. On the other hand, a child with a negative attitude may have low self-esteem or need special attention. He suffers from boredom, frustration, or has an "I don't care" attitude because of feeling unloved. Situational factors such as the child's lifestyle, the school's atmosphere, or possibility of developing a learning disability need to be taken into consideration. Moreover, the people prominent in the child's life-family, teachers, friends-all need to be regarded as possible influences toward potential problems.

The following questions are ones to reflect upon when dealing with a child with a negative attitude and/or performance in any or several subjects.

  • Has the child skipped a grade or been held back?
  • Have you recently moved to another city unfamiliar to your child?
  • Are there any signs of a learning or physical disability present?
  • As parents, do you see yourselves concerned about problem areas for your child?
  • Are there potential friends who might be the cause of the problem?
  • Is the school offering extra help?
  • Are there distractions at school?
  • Is the teacher thorough in teaching?
  • Does the teacher clarify and take time to answer any questions or address concerns?
  • Would the teacher contact you if needed?
  • Is the textbook easy to understand?
  • How do you feel about the areas in which your child does poorly-do you have the same attitude about them, or do you try to overstress the subject matter?
  • Does the child seek attention?
  • Is there a loss of self-esteem involved?
  • Is there possible competition between friends and/or siblings?
  • What is the child's attitude toward school in general?

Answering those questions and dealing with ones that pertain to you and your child will help you greatly in focusing in on the problem and how to help. As parents, it is your duty to see that your child works to the best of his abilities in school, and to take action if you see otherwise. All children have the right to do well, and can. However, everyone learns differently, and that should always be kept in mind. The way you learned might not work for your child, and it is important to find a way that works best for him. Whenever extra help is needed, and by reinforcing measures, your child will later recognize your love and best wishes upon becoming a successful adult.

Parent Resources

For guidelines on your State's education standards and recommendations for grades K-12, visit http://www.ed.gov/


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