There are basically three types of students you will find in a class: the very intelligent, the averagely intelligent and the poorly intelligent. I don't believe any child to be 'unintelligent', thus, I call the third category 'poorly intelligent' because there's usually some form of intelligence which may not necessarily be for the chalk and blackboard. For the purpose of this article, we’d focus on the classroom intelligence.
If you are a parent or a teacher, you may have noticed that the academic abilities of your kids or pupils are not the same. Some kids do well this term but woefully the next. Others maintain good grades regularly while some others sustain poor grades continually. In other cases, a pupil may perform terrifically in some subjects but terribly in others.
What may be responsible for the above-mentioned situations? This article outlines five factors which may contribute to a pupil's under performance.
1. Your Child's State of Mind
Your child's psychology should merit your attention because one's desire/ability to study and one's intelligence are imbued in one’s mental or cognitive capacity. Granted, it may seem like these young ones shouldn't have such complaints since everything is being provided for them, yet, this doesn't rule out the fact that they have their own fears and worries. What if that child is being bullied or harassed in school? Perhaps you newly moved to an area which means new school, new friends, new environment, etc. Even adults feel the pains of leaving everything and everyone behind; I know I got depressed the last time I moved. How much more so with kids. Anything that affects their psychology can stifle academic performance.
The advice is to be really sensitive to your child's mental needs. An article, Raising Children Network agrees that "The early teen years see lots of changes – physical, emotional, cognitive and social. During this time, children’s bodies, emotions and identities change in different ways at different times". Thus, it becomes necessary to pay more than the usual attention to their psychological needs.
The next two factors are correlative with the mental factor.
2. Puberty Crisis
This is usually not funny, especially for the girl child (and worst if the parents never taught the child anything about puberty). A child who was tops in primary school suddenly becomes dull and withdrawn in secondary school. The fears and worries that accompany the pubic stage can so distract a child that he/she neglects academics due to being inordinately concerned about the, sometimes awkward, growths in the body. The hormonal changes and the various secretions may cause mood swings and the likes. The article quoted earlier acknowledges that "your child shows strong feelings and intense emotions at different times. Moods might seem unpredictable. These emotional ups and downs can lead to increased conflict".
Parents, do well to talk to your wards about these things. It's not only dangerous but also unrealistic to expect them to figure things out on their own. It is sad that some parents believe they can only start giving 'The Talk' after the child hits puberty, but that's half preparation. On the issue of timing for starting the puberty talks, The Awake! Number 2, 2016 (a publication of Jehovah’s Witnesses), in an article titled 'Helping Your Child Deal With Puberty' says that one really helpful thing you can do is to "talk about puberty before it starts". Yes, just like preparing for an examination before it commences, teaching your child about puberty before it strikes can ensure a good measure of success in passing that stage. This stage is the 'midlife' crisis for children which can alter their adulthood for good or bad. Therefore, not being adequately informed and cared for in this pubic stage will not only affect a child's academics but also other important aspects of his life.
3. Distraction from the Opposite Sex
This is closely related to the pubic stage. A website, chy.com has this advice for kids: "As you reach puberty it is normal for you to start having strong feelings towards others. It may be exciting to think about having a boyfriend or girlfriend". But undue attraction to members of the opposite sex can be a formidable distraction if not checked. It is at the pubic stage that your boy starts noticing how beautiful the girls' legs are, how well-arranged their teeth are, how warm a girl's hug can be, etc. Your girl may find herself strongly attracted to boys due to the attention she gets from them. Let's be practical, these are things we've experienced ourselves during our time: we're therefore in a fine position to help these youngsters because most of them truly don't understand - they just enjoy the whole new world they find themselves in. Sometimes, this awakening so engulfs them that the main purpose for going to school daily becomes to just enjoy the company of the opposite sex. The advice still applies, talk to your wards about these things and guide them through. Be involved in their lives.
4. Environmental Distractions
These include anything which can either enhance or stifle your ward's study time and opportunities. Daily, there should be enough time earmarked for him to deal with academic issues. Sadly, some parents so laden the kids with chores that there's hardly ever enough time left to study. On another note, getting the child engaged in excessive social activities can ruin a child's study habits. Summarily, a bad study environment is adverse to good grades while a conducive one engenders optimum performance. That said, parents can enhance their ward's study environment. This can be done by providing necessary materials for study and ensuring balance between chores, socials and study time. Study time? Yes! When is the best time of the day he assimilates better? Some need a cemetery-quiet place while others prefer soft music in the background. You can find out what works best for your child.
5. Are you’re too far from your child?
Parental influence can never be overstated. This is well captured in the quote:
"People spend their childhood learning to be like their parents..."– Dr Miriam Kaufman. As a parent, you have an important role in your child's education. When parents/guardians are active in the child's learning process, it's easier for that child to understand better because he's at ease with the parents. Children who have educated parents that assist them with academic work tend to do better. To these kids, you're an authority. Therefore, provide them skilful guidance and inculcate in them academic values like researching, cross-checking, referencing, etc. Note that always doing the school work for your children encourages academic laziness. Instead, guide them through in doing their homework themselves. To add to this, never underestimate the power of your being a role model. When these wards see the diligence with which you do your own studies and handle academic businesses, they are more likely to imbibe your diligence.
In conclusion, there are no clear-cut rules for enhancing a child's academic performance because each child is unique. But the above factors should be helpful if considered and fine-tuned to the peculiar need of each child.
Imoh Udoh Iniekpo
Content Executive @ Edusko.com
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