The types of “players” in the underachievement game include but are not limited to the following: The rebel, the conformist, the stressed learner, the struggling student, the victim, the distracted learner, the bored student, the complacent learner, and the single-sided achiever. Throughout the course of the presentation, we will briefly discuss all of the “players” in order to better understand just what kind of student your child may be. This will also be helpful in simply learning about the strategies we can use to help underachievers in any situation. After parents have decided which person goes with which label, have them read each description and explain why they chose each person to be labeled as they did.
Often times, teachers and parents will view this and simply start to take away privileges. Therefore, punishing the child. This however may backfire even more so because the child will still struggle to have control elsewhere in his or her life, in many cases, underachieving at school.
More work is not better, quality over quantity! The student may “stall” or not work up to his or her potential in order to avoid the extra work that the teacher may assign to simply keep the child busy. The conformist may not work up to his or her full potential in order to avoid being called the “nerd”. This may also be a result of peer pressure, especially at the middle school level where children wish to “blend in”. They do not want to stand out or be different. In boys, it is being a jock versus being a nerd. In girls, it is being popular versus being smart.
With a perfectionist student, nothing is ever good enough. Students who are perfectionists frequently do not turn in homework. This is not because the assignment is incomplete, they simply feel that it can be done better. They may not believe others when complimented in regards to school work or any other compliments that are given. There is no room for improvement as this students always needs to be number one, the best.
These students may have been successful early on in life, however, when something became difficult, he or she did not learn the skills needed in order to study or learn effectively. They may also have problems with time management, organization, and managing assignments.These students, unfortunately, associate their lack of success with lack of intelligence when this is not the case. Many times these kids may also have some learning difficulties due to learning disabilities. This can also be frustrating especially when the child does not qualify for services to assist them with these problems. This can also lead to a “lowered rate of expectations” from parents and teachers because the child’s problems are recognized but they are not severe enough to require intervention from the school. TRULY UNFORTUNATE!! We strive to meet the needs of all children in school and there are ways to seek assistance in this situation from the school.
This child has used every excuse as to why the assignment is not complete or why he or she has not put in sufficient effort in order to meet the requirements of an assignment. The responsibility of doing well in school is not something that he or she has ownership of. Perhaps the child was one who gained power at an early age and is reluctant to relinquish this control. Parents may have attempted to manage his or her school workload rather than teaching the child the skills he or she needs in order to be successful. This child needs to be a part of the planning process in order to take ownership for the situation and in learning how to make a change.
This child has so much going on outside of school which causes him or her to be unable to devote full attention to achieving in school. This child encounters many outside factors that they are unable to control. This can include a new brother or sister, parents separation or divorce, a move, a new marriage in the family, new living situation, problems with drugs, or health issues in the family. The school may not always be aware of these situations. Personal decisions, friendships, personal matters, chemical dependency, depression, eating disorders, or conflicting sexual values may also create roadblocks to achievement. Other factors that may influence the distracted learner are extracurricular activities, an after school job, the responsibility of caring for others, or simply stress or anxiety. This is not to say that children should not take part in these activities, they simply need to learn how to balance these outside factors with school work. Unfortunately, some children have no control over these issues and school is where it becomes obvious that the child is overwhelmed.
Underachievement<br />Why do we accept adequacy in place of excellence? <br />
What is underachievement?<br />un⋅der⋅a⋅chieve<br />[uhn-der-uh-cheev] <br />–verb (used without object), -a⋅chieved, -a⋅chiev⋅ing. 1. to perform, esp. academically, below the potential indicated by tests of one's mental ability or aptitude. 2. to perform below expectations or achieve less than expected, esp. by others.<br />As defined by dictionary.com<br />
What does it mean for you in regards to your child?<br />There are several types of underachievers. We will call them “players” for the purpose of this learning exercise<br />Case Studies- Break into small groups and match the description of each type of underachiever with the “player” <br />
The Rebel<br />The rebel student is one who holds tight to any type of control he or she may have. In the case of underachievement, it is by refusing to cooperate with the wishes of others, whether it be teachers or parents. <br />
The Conformist<br />The conformist is a child who has discovered that doing well in school is not worth their effort or time. <br />This situation can develop when a child finishes work early and is simply assigned more. <br />
The Stressed Learner<br />Also known as the Perfectionist<br />Nothing is ever good enough<br />Unable to choose between project choices or subjects due to feeling as though each deserves consideration<br />
The Struggling Student<br />Can fall through the cracks<br />May have been able to achieve during Elementary School, however, at some point in their learning, they have reached the end of their rope<br />
The Victim<br />Adults involved in the students life have spent ample time in meeting and discussing reasons as to why the child is not succeeding. The adults in his or her life may have focused on creating plans for achievement that do not place responsibility directly on the child. The child has grown accustomed to others doing the work and has not taken responsibility in his or her achievement.<br />
The Distracted Learner<br />Outside issues come into conflict with achievement in school<br />
The Bored Student<br />More than just being bored, there may be fear or a lack of willingness to try<br />They Did Not Give Up<br />
The Complacent Learner<br />This student is completely satisfied with his or her achievement. While others believe that the student may do better if they were to simply apply themselves, the student does not feel a need to do so. <br />“Good, better, best. Never rest until good be better and better best. “~ Mother Goose<br />
The Single-Sided Achiever<br />This student chooses which classes or subjects are important to him or her. <br />
Six Ways to Promote and Support Student Motivation<br />What can we do to motivate underachievers? <br />
1. Be a model of Achievement<br />That’s right! If you want your child to do his or her best, model this behavior. <br />
2. Introduce the student to other adults who are achievers <br />This can be especially powerful if you find someone who shares common interests with the child.<br />
3. Communicate your experiences<br />Be specific!<br />For example, it is not enough for you to tell your child to practice playing the piano. Tell your child that you want him or her to practice for 20 minutes a day.<br />
4. Give the student some “how-to” help to become motivated<br />Help your child become more interested in what he or she is learning by presenting the material in a way that he or she may find more appealing. <br />
5. Make sure the student has the time to develop and practice the skills necessary for success<br />As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!<br />
6. Encourage and praise learning efforts<br />Make sure that you take notice to any kind of achievements, whether they be large or small. <br />Reward your child with a congratulations, a hug, or something simple. This can make a big difference. <br />
Eight Characteristics of Achievers<br />Who are achievers and what do they do? <br />
Achievers are…<br />Goal Oriented<br />Make a plan<br />Benefits <br />Obstacles<br />Materials<br />Incentives<br />Checkpoints<br />"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."— Doug Larson<br />
Achievers are…<br />Positive Thinkers<br />If you believe it, you can achieve it! <br />Reflect on the successes you have already had. How did you get to that point? <br />
Achievers are…<br />Confident<br />If you are sure of yourself, it shows in what you do and who you are. <br />This also helps you to take risks because you know that if you fall, you’ll be able to pick yourself up again. <br />“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”<br /> ~ Peter T. Mcintyre<br />
Achievers are…<br />Resilient<br />Ability to overcome and “bounce” back<br />Do not let failure stop them<br />
Achievers…<br />Have Pride<br />Know when to accept a compliment<br />Rely on self to provide that sense of accomplishment rather than outside sources<br />Have Self Discipline<br />Ability to stay on track and on task<br />Stay in drive rather than shifting to neutral<br />Keep in mind personal goals<br />
Achievers are…<br />Proficient<br />Have attained the skills to become successful<br />May be basic to advanced and specific<br />Risk Takers<br />Willing to take a chance and try something new<br />Able to push the limits<br />“Risk taking requires courage and confidence in one’s abilities; achievers have both.” ~ Diane Heacox<br />
Eleven Positive Coaching Tips for Parents<br />What can you do at home? <br />
Eleven Positive Coaching Tips for Parents<br />Use moderation<br />Be positive<br />Agree on and communicate expectations<br />Let the learner struggle<br />Connect effort with results<br />Enforce academic time<br />Share decision making<br />Use incentives<br />Communicate clearly<br />
Parenting Pitfalls<br />How can they be avoided? <br />
Eight Parenting Pitfalls<br />Unreasonable expectations<br />The need to control<br />Giving up<br />Frequent use of payoffs<br />Saving the child<br />Anger and guilt trips<br />Panic<br />Punishment<br />
What Gifted Students Want from Their Parents<br />Be supportive and encouraging<br />Don’t expect perfection or too much from us<br />Don’t pressure us or be too demanding<br />Help us with our schoolwork/homework<br />Help us to develop our talents<br />Be understanding<br />Don’t expect straight A’s<br />Allow us some independence<br />Talk/Listen to us<br />Let us try other programs <br />
End note…<br />"`Cheshire Puss,” (said Alice) <br />“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”<br />“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. <br />“I don't much care where—”said Alice. <br />“Then it doesn't matter which way you go,” said the Cat. <br />“--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation. <br />“Oh, you're sure to do that,” said the Cat, “If you only walk long enough.” <br />~ Lewis Carroll<br />
Handouts<br />Parent Survey- to determine whether or not you are helping to support your child’s achievement, take the survey. Check my wiki to evaluate your “answers”.<br />Things to do today- may help students who are easily overwhelmed or those who have fallen behind<br />Project ideas- Choices, Choices, Choices!<br />Strategies- Helpful tips to come back to<br />
Resources<br />Judy Galbraith, M. A. and Jim Delisle, P.H.D. (1996). The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing<br />Diane Heacox (1991). Up From Underachievement. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing<br />Carolyn Coil (1999). Encouraging Achievement. Pieces of Learning<br />