Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Internet Special Education Resources
Special Education & Learning Disabilities Resources: A Nationwide Directory


Your Child as a Thinking Student -- Reflection...A Key to Growth

by Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A., Carroll Educational Group, Inc.
In order for students to grow, it is important that students reflect on individual successes and failures. That is a common practice in the professional world, but we do not place the same expectations on students. If students even take a few minutes to learn from personal experiences, it will make a difference in improving academic performance.

When a student does not perform well, he or she is often told to “work harder” or privileges are taken away from the student until performance improves. But, if a student does not have strong study strategies or practices in place, what good does it do to punish the child? I suggest that students find ways of learning from mistakes and building towards the future.

When I work with a child, I view weaker performances as a great opportunities for growth. We can look at the situation and create a solution to the problem. Think of it this way, how many times did Thomas Edison fail with the light bulb? Students can take a similar approach. While it is not acceptable for a student to fail as many times as Edison did along the way, it is important that the child build a foundation from mistakes and build towards the future.

Here are two ideas that can help a student deal with academic highs and lows...

Have your child keep a journal on his or her school performance...

Try to compare results of one assignment to another. There are many different ways of studying and preparing for academics, so it is important that you encourage your child to try new strategies. Also, try to have your child keep track of specific assignments and what strategies proved to be more effective for studying. Perhaps a students might try note cards for one exam and outlining for another one. Take the results from both approaches and compare the results.

Encourage your child seek out the teacher after receiving a poor or below standard grade and ask for feedback on performance...

Ask what things the teacher has for improvement. It is important that this meeting does not come across as an attack on the teacher, so brainstorm questions that will help the child better prepare for the next exam. Have the student write down specific questions and approach the teacher prepared to have an educated discussion. Often times, an initial emotional or unprepared approach might cause more harm than good.

Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A. is the director of The Carroll Education Group, Inc. in the Chicago area. He can be reached at: (847) 769-5569 or

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


Educational advocacy, learning disabilities advocacy     Return to ISER Home