As parents, carers and teachers, we all know and understand that children have different mindsets, learning abilities and motivation levels which we need to consider and support when it comes to education. It is very important that we do this without demanding too much of them. Nowadays it is thought that 5 good GCSE’s are required to give your child access to a good university, and providing your child an edge is considered by many as the answer.
Most parents will admit that they have been pushy at some point or another. Some might confess that despite their best efforts they’ve seen no change in their child’s behaviour or attitude towards a certain matter. Being pushy generally leads to negative attitudes, rebellion and puts the child under enormous pressure and lowers self-esteem. Demanding extra hours of study when a child is tired or pushing for extra study time over weekends are both examples of being over demanding. Another example is insisting that homework is done on a Friday afternoon, especially after your child had a long and challenging week at school. A rested brain will be able to take in more information, whereas an over-tired brain will not be able to take in any more information due to information overload.
Parenting does not come with a textbook, especially considering no two children are ever the same. Parents must often rely on trial and error to establish which methods are the most effective when it comes to communicating effectively with their children.
We have a few ideas that you might want to consider if you would like to give your child a bit of extra motivation to excel in whatever they take on.
Knowing your child’s intelligence:
Dr Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, developed a theory called ‘Multiple Intelligence”. His theory suggests that there are 9 different types of intelligence that accounts for a broader range of human potential. Perhaps knowing your child’s type of intelligence will help you distinguish from which angle to approach your child. According to his theory, the intelligence categories are:
- Verbal-linguistic intelligence – someone who has good verbal skills
- Logical-mathematical intelligence – someone who can think abstractly and conceptually
- Spatial-visual intelligence – someone who can think in images and visualise accurately
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence – someone who can control their body movements
- Musical intelligence – someone who can compose and produce rhythm, pitch and timber
- Interpersonal intelligence – someone who detects and responds appropriately to the moods of others
- Intrapersonal – someone who is self-aware and who is connected with their inner feelings
- Naturalist intelligence – someone who is able to recognize objects in nature and categorize them
- Existential intelligence – someone who takes on deep questions about the existence of mankind.
Become more involved
In order to excel, a support system is needed. The first person in line is you as a parent. Set aside a time each day or week and talk to your child about what tests or exams are coming up and if there are any subjects they feel they will need to pay extra attention to. Support homework and exams by drawing up tests or asking questions. Try to be more involved with projects and functions. Provide the items necessary to get the homework done. Your role is to provide support and guidance. Teach, coach, mentor! Stay away from telling them what to do. Instead, allow your child to show and explain what needs to be done, with you acknowledging and or making suggestions for improvement.
The importance of reading
Reading is the key to lifelong learning. A love for reading should be introduced to your child from a young age. Reading can be a fun activity. Do research on books that match your child’s interest and suggest them to your child. Another great method is to also read the book and make it a topic of conversation and express your opinions on characters and happenings in the book. Allow your child to suggest a couple of books as well. This way you also set a good example and showing your child that reading can be fun. Reading will definitely improve their general knowledge and can also inspire them or spark a new idea.
Your attitude towards education.
Children are influenced by the opinions of that of their parents. Therefore, if you have a positive attitude towards education, your child is most likely to adopt that mindset too. If you regard a good education as important so will your child. Showing a positive interest can spark enthusiasm and lead them to the very important understanding that learning can be enjoyable and rewarding and in the end, well worth the efforts. Motivate them by giving them tips on how you used to study and how well it worked for you. Always have a ‘can do’ attitude when discussing subjects and exam related topics with your child.
Create a balance
It is very important to create and encourage a balance of active learning such as sports, music visits museums and socialises with friends as well as quiet learning such as reading and homework. Your child should not feel as if they have no time to socialise and have fun. They need to be able to distinguish between when it is time to relax and when the time has come to work. Exam time can be a very challenging and stressful time for your child. Make sure your child is coping with the pressure. Sit down with your child and plan the preparation time for the exam together. This way you can ensure your child has a study guideline and that he won’t feel alone and pressurised and had ample time to prepare for exams.
GT Scholars is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve social mobility and help young people between the ages of 11-16 reach their dreams and aspirations.Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our workshops, enrichment activities and our after-school tutoring programs and find out how GT Scholars can help your child excel in their school work and prepare for the GCSE exams.