Understand Learning Struggles

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  • While small amounts of anxiety can be productive and even motivating for students, too much anxiety can interfere with a student’s learning, self-confidence and overall social, emotional, and physical well-being.

    If you notice a meaningful decline in academic performance without another explanation, a strong hesitation to participate in class, or a disinclination to interact with other students, your student might be struggling with anxiety. (Read about specific concerns with test anxiety for a student whose primary difficulty is “freezing” on tests or quizzes).

    Be careful before assuming it is anxiety holding your student back, as the signs of anxiety can resemble behaviors typically associated with ADHD and other learning struggles. Consulting your school counselor is the best way to ensure a student is receiving all the right supports.

    understand how your child learns
  • Teachers can help calm an anxious student once they understand the primary cause. While it might take a student time to open up and share their “anxiety triggers”, just knowing there is a caring adult at school can make a world of difference to a student who feels anxious.

    Specific supports for anxious students could include providing extra time for assignments, giving the student advance notice before calling on them in class, or allowing the student to sit next to a supportive friend (and, conversely, away from other students who might make them nervous). Some teachers practice mindfulness and meditation in the classroom which can be calming and have positive impacts on academic performance for all students.

    get all strategies
  • Reported anxiety in adolescents is on the rise. Excessive anxiety can have a negative effect on students socially and emotionally, as well as academically.  Teachers can play an important role in supporting students and helping them feel safe and confident so they are ready to learn. Of course, the teacher is one of many important adults in a student’s life, and when teachers have concerns about a student’s overall well-being they will want to consult parents or the school counselor to be sure the student is receiving all the supports they need both in and out of school.

    get started
  • By 3rd grade, students should have self-control of their words and actions, even when needled by other students. While it is natural and expected for students to make an occasional mistake, chronic misbehavior might signal a student is struggling to control impulses or is experiencing built-up frustration with academic or personal challenges. While it is often appropriate to reprimand a misbehaving student, it is also important to understand why a student is consistently acting out and address the underlying reason.

    understand behavior
  • Teachers can help students manage their impulses and coach them how to respond appropriately to unexpected or disappointing circumstances. Students who struggle with inhibition or attention, might benefit from frequent, scheduled breaks. The opportunity to release excessive energy might prevent the uncontrolled impulse that comes when they are asked to sit quietly for longer than they can manage. When you see a younger student on the verge of acting impulsively, coach them to step back. By middle school, students  should be sufficiently self-aware to know to take a pause.

    You might notice that some students only seem to act out when they are disappointed or anxious. These students might benefit from advance notice that a change is coming. Help older students create contingency plans so they are prepared for unfortunate situations. If you believe a student might be misbehaving because they are struggling to learn it will be important to address the learning issue first.

    self-control strategies
  • Poor self-control can affect a student’s own learning as well as their classmates. They might have difficulty maintaining friendships or lose self-esteem from the constant discipline. Poor self-control might can affect class participation and group work.

    get started
  • It might surprise teachers when some of their brightest students struggle with solving novel problems or trying something new. There are students that seem to only want to do things “their way.” They might ignore feedback or resist trying new approaches. While these students might appear rigid, stubborn (and even arrogant), they might be struggling with flexible thinking. They might need coaching to cope with ambiguity and novelty. Some of the brightest students might not show signs of inflexibility until middle or high school when they face significant academic challenges for the first time.

    understand flexibility
  • Students of all capabilities can struggle with flexible thinking. Try to understand the student’s current comfort zone so you can provide the just right supports to help him or her face stretch challenges. Every student’s stretch challenges will be different depending on where they are academically and emotionally. Strategies that develop flexible thinking include requiring students to solve a problem in multiple ways, having students solve problems without a single “right answer”, or debating both sides of important issues. Group work, with the appropriate supervision, can help students appreciate and adapt to alternative perspectives. 

    get all strategies
  • Flexible thinking is a key driver of creative thinking and problem solving in both academic and social settings. As students improve their flexibility, they become better problem solvers and get along better with others, key skills for successful lifelong learning and collaboration.

    get started

Anxiety

  • While small amounts of anxiety can be productive and even motivating for students, too much anxiety can interfere with a student’s learning, self-confidence and overall social, emotional, and physical well-being.

    If you notice a meaningful decline in academic performance without another explanation, a strong hesitation to participate in class, or a disinclination to interact with other students, your student might be struggling with anxiety. (Read about specific concerns with test anxiety for a student whose primary difficulty is “freezing” on tests or quizzes).

    Be careful before assuming it is anxiety holding your student back, as the signs of anxiety can resemble behaviors typically associated with ADHD and other learning struggles. Consulting your school counselor is the best way to ensure a student is receiving all the right supports.

    understand how your child learns
    Untitled-1
  • Teachers can help calm an anxious student once they understand the primary cause. While it might take a student time to open up and share their “anxiety triggers”, just knowing there is a caring adult at school can make a world of difference to a student who feels anxious.

    Specific supports for anxious students could include providing extra time for assignments, giving the student advance notice before calling on them in class, or allowing the student to sit next to a supportive friend (and, conversely, away from other students who might make them nervous). Some teachers practice mindfulness and meditation in the classroom which can be calming and have positive impacts on academic performance for all students.

    get all strategies
    Untitled-1
  • Reported anxiety in adolescents is on the rise. Excessive anxiety can have a negative effect on students socially and emotionally, as well as academically.  Teachers can play an important role in supporting students and helping them feel safe and confident so they are ready to learn. Of course, the teacher is one of many important adults in a student’s life, and when teachers have concerns about a student’s overall well-being they will want to consult parents or the school counselor to be sure the student is receiving all the supports they need both in and out of school.

    get started
    Untitled-3

Behavior & Self-Control

  • By 3rd grade, students should have self-control of their words and actions, even when needled by other students. While it is natural and expected for students to make an occasional mistake, chronic misbehavior might signal a student is struggling to control impulses or is experiencing built-up frustration with academic or personal challenges. While it is often appropriate to reprimand a misbehaving student, it is also important to understand why a student is consistently acting out and address the underlying reason.

    understand behavior
    self_1
  • Teachers can help students manage their impulses and coach them how to respond appropriately to unexpected or disappointing circumstances. Students who struggle with inhibition or attention, might benefit from frequent, scheduled breaks. The opportunity to release excessive energy might prevent the uncontrolled impulse that comes when they are asked to sit quietly for longer than they can manage. When you see a younger student on the verge of acting impulsively, coach them to step back. By middle school, students  should be sufficiently self-aware to know to take a pause.

    You might notice that some students only seem to act out when they are disappointed or anxious. These students might benefit from advance notice that a change is coming. Help older students create contingency plans so they are prepared for unfortunate situations. If you believe a student might be misbehaving because they are struggling to learn it will be important to address the learning issue first.

    self-control strategies
    self_2
  • Poor self-control can affect a student’s own learning as well as their classmates. They might have difficulty maintaining friendships or lose self-esteem from the constant discipline. Poor self-control might can affect class participation and group work.

    get started
    self_3

Flexibility

  • It might surprise teachers when some of their brightest students struggle with solving novel problems or trying something new. There are students that seem to only want to do things “their way.” They might ignore feedback or resist trying new approaches. While these students might appear rigid, stubborn (and even arrogant), they might be struggling with flexible thinking. They might need coaching to cope with ambiguity and novelty. Some of the brightest students might not show signs of inflexibility until middle or high school when they face significant academic challenges for the first time.

    understand flexibility
    gears_1
  • Students of all capabilities can struggle with flexible thinking. Try to understand the student’s current comfort zone so you can provide the just right supports to help him or her face stretch challenges. Every student’s stretch challenges will be different depending on where they are academically and emotionally. Strategies that develop flexible thinking include requiring students to solve a problem in multiple ways, having students solve problems without a single “right answer”, or debating both sides of important issues. Group work, with the appropriate supervision, can help students appreciate and adapt to alternative perspectives. 

    get all strategies
    gears_2
  • Flexible thinking is a key driver of creative thinking and problem solving in both academic and social settings. As students improve their flexibility, they become better problem solvers and get along better with others, key skills for successful lifelong learning and collaboration.

    get started
    gears_3

Anxiety

Signs of Anxiety

While small amounts of anxiety can be productive and even motivating for students, too much anxiety can interfere with a student’s learning, self-confidence and overall social, emotional, and physical well-being.

If you notice a meaningful decline in academic performance without another explanation, a strong hesitation to participate in class, or a disinclination to interact with other students, your student might be struggling with anxiety. (Read about specific concerns with test anxiety for a student whose primary difficulty is “freezing” on tests or quizzes).

Be careful before assuming it is anxiety holding your student back, as the signs of anxiety can resemble behaviors typically associated with ADHD and other learning struggles. Consulting your school counselor is the best way to ensure a student is receiving all the right supports.

understand how your child learns
Untitled-1
Strategies to Support Anxiety

Teachers can help calm an anxious student once they understand the primary cause. While it might take a student time to open up and share their “anxiety triggers”, just knowing there is a caring adult at school can make a world of difference to a student who feels anxious.

Specific supports for anxious students could include providing extra time for assignments, giving the student advance notice before calling on them in class, or allowing the student to sit next to a supportive friend (and, conversely, away from other students who might make them nervous). Some teachers practice mindfulness and meditation in the classroom which can be calming and have positive impacts on academic performance for all students.

get all strategies
Untitled-1
Why Act Now

Reported anxiety in adolescents is on the rise. Excessive anxiety can have a negative effect on students socially and emotionally, as well as academically.  Teachers can play an important role in supporting students and helping them feel safe and confident so they are ready to learn. Of course, the teacher is one of many important adults in a student’s life, and when teachers have concerns about a student’s overall well-being they will want to consult parents or the school counselor to be sure the student is receiving all the supports they need both in and out of school.

get started
Untitled-3

Behavior & Self-Control

Self-Control Difficulties

By 3rd grade, students should have self-control of their words and actions, even when needled by other students. While it is natural and expected for students to make an occasional mistake, chronic misbehavior might signal a student is struggling to control impulses or is experiencing built-up frustration with academic or personal challenges. While it is often appropriate to reprimand a misbehaving student, it is also important to understand why a student is consistently acting out and address the underlying reason.

understand behavior
self_1
Self-Control Strategies

Teachers can help students manage their impulses and coach them how to respond appropriately to unexpected or disappointing circumstances. Students who struggle with inhibition or attention, might benefit from frequent, scheduled breaks. The opportunity to release excessive energy might prevent the uncontrolled impulse that comes when they are asked to sit quietly for longer than they can manage. When you see a younger student on the verge of acting impulsively, coach them to step back. By middle school, students  should be sufficiently self-aware to know to take a pause.

You might notice that some students only seem to act out when they are disappointed or anxious. These students might benefit from advance notice that a change is coming. Help older students create contingency plans so they are prepared for unfortunate situations. If you believe a student might be misbehaving because they are struggling to learn it will be important to address the learning issue first.

self-control strategies
self_2
Why Act Now

Poor self-control can affect a student’s own learning as well as their classmates. They might have difficulty maintaining friendships or lose self-esteem from the constant discipline. Poor self-control might can affect class participation and group work.

get started
self_3

Flexibility

Understanding Flexibility

It might surprise teachers when some of their brightest students struggle with solving novel problems or trying something new. There are students that seem to only want to do things “their way.” They might ignore feedback or resist trying new approaches. While these students might appear rigid, stubborn (and even arrogant), they might be struggling with flexible thinking. They might need coaching to cope with ambiguity and novelty. Some of the brightest students might not show signs of inflexibility until middle or high school when they face significant academic challenges for the first time.

understand flexibility
gears_1
Strategies for Flexible Thinking

Students of all capabilities can struggle with flexible thinking. Try to understand the student’s current comfort zone so you can provide the just right supports to help him or her face stretch challenges. Every student’s stretch challenges will be different depending on where they are academically and emotionally. Strategies that develop flexible thinking include requiring students to solve a problem in multiple ways, having students solve problems without a single “right answer”, or debating both sides of important issues. Group work, with the appropriate supervision, can help students appreciate and adapt to alternative perspectives. 

get all strategies
gears_2
Why Act Now

Flexible thinking is a key driver of creative thinking and problem solving in both academic and social settings. As students improve their flexibility, they become better problem solvers and get along better with others, key skills for successful lifelong learning and collaboration.

get started
gears_3

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Anxiety

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Behavior & Self-Control

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Flexibility

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