As a parent you hate to see your kids struggle–be it physically, emotionally, or academically. Luckily for them (and you) most of these times are likely short lived and your children soon forget. But what if struggle has become part of their daily lives … especially at school?
This month I’d like to share an idea, maybe even a new one, on how you can help support change for any struggling learners you may have in your family:
“Think in levels” …
When trying to evoke change in behaviour or understanding, it’s often useful to think about it in terms of the neurological levels of environment, behaviour, capability, beliefs, and identity. I know it sounds daunting, but it’s really quite simple. Here’s what it means and a few questions to ask at each level:
Environment – the where and when
Where do they need to be? Who do they need to be (or not be) around? In what type of environment do they learn best? When do they learn best? What can you do to optimize where, when and with whom your children are learning, studying or hanging around?
Behaviour – the what
What do they need to do? Do they know how to listen effectively, organize themselves and their time, take meaningful notes, or other skills many successful learners take for granted? Don’t assume they do. As well, don’t be fooled by well-developed coping strategies which often hide areas of need.
Capability – the how
What skills, knowledge or strategies do they need that they do not already possess? What are their learning styles? Do they learn best by listening (auditory)? Seeing or drawing (visual), Or in a hands-on environment where they can move around (kinesthetic)? Do they require modifications or accommodations in the classroom?
Beliefs/Values – the why
Do they believe they can do it? Do key people in their lives tell them they believe in them? What does their self-talk sound like? Are they motivated? Do they want to learn or even value learning? Do their beliefs act as permissions or prohibitions?
Identity – the who
How does success or failure affect their sense of self? How could this be maximized or minimized?
Moving to the next level …
It has been said that problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them. And in terms of these levels, it might mean your child is stuck and needs to help to move to the next one. For example, he/she may:
- need to know WHERE or WHEN to get more information
- have all the info but not know WHAT to do with it
- know WHAT to do but not HOW to do it
- wonder IF he/she can even do it
The best thing about this model is that it work for adults too, and not just for learning but for any type of change you’d like to see. So the next time you or someone you know about is feeling stuck, just “think in levels”. You might be amazed at how it can identify or clarify the barriers that are standing in your way.
About the author
An award-winning educator and Parenting & Youth Coach,
Rob Stringer BA, BEd, CPC has spent almost two decades helping kids,
teens, and adults meet with success, and live lives they LOVE! Although
based outside of Toronto, Rob’s coaching practice is global with teen
and adult clients around the world.
Ready to give your child a head start on success? Check out Rob’s coaching programs and workshops for parents and youth. Visit www.YouthCoachCanada.com or call 905.515.9822.