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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Teaching Strategies for Learned Helpless Students

These guidelines were selected from my 9-page article, “When Children Fail in School Part Two: Teaching Strategies for Learned Helpless Students.” To read the complete article, click on the link at the bottom.
  • Make sure the child clearly sees the connection between his own effort and school success. Children who perceive this connection are more likely to respond to difficult tasks and failure with less frustration and with positive expectations about the outcome of the event.
  • Make sure that you define effort correctly, telling the student that effort is spending effective and strategic time on the learning task. Just trying harder or spending time doing random activities that are not working is not effective effort. Effective and strategic effort focuses on using learning strategies and procedures, that is, trying hard in a particular way is what leads to success. When the strategy or procedure that the child is using is not working, we tell him or her to try a different strategy or procedure. Teaching children to make strategic effort attributions help them see failure and academic difficulties as problem solving situations in which the search for a better strategy to use becomes their focus. When we teach an apathetic, unmotivated, and/or helpless student in using strategic effort attributions, we can weaken the child’s perception that his lack of ability is the problem, helping the child understand that the problem lies in using an ineffective learning strategy or procedure. The child simply needs to find a better strategy to solve that particular problem.
  • Teach the child to see academic errors and mistakes as her cue to change the learning strategy she is using.
  • Model to the student how to manage failure and setbacks in a constructive and strategic way, for example, you can say, “This is not working. What is another way that I can do this?” Alternatively, you can say, “What is another strategy that I can try?”
To read the complete article, click here.

A Call to All Teachers:


Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.

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