Why your child runs into difficulty

Over the years, I have met many children who fail to concentrate in class and many who have poor writing skills. I have met children who don’t want to go school at all; some who ‘hate maths’ or reading; others who consistently under-perform, underachieve, daydream, or disrupt. Some parents – and teachers – think that whatever it is, is to do with the child’s personality or nature, however, my experience has led me to interpret this differently. I now believe that by and large, we give children only half the education they really need and that the vast majority of issues that arise are children’s reactions to the world we are in.

 The changes in life over the last fifty years, have been so fast and varied that the world your children have been born into is completely different to the one you were born into and it is still changing. The year that I was born there were 2.25 billion people on this planet; now there are over 7 billion! I don’t know about you, but I call that significant change!

 The population increase alone creates:

  • a more intense pressure on everyone:
  • a change in living arrangements
  • changes in the way our food is produced and distributed; often affecting quality

 The way we live, communicate and work has changed dramatically, certainly since my childhood and probably since most of your childhoods as well.  I remember the head teacher when I was in primary school asking in assembly who had been ‘on an aeroplane’. One person put up their hand! Now, if you walk into most primary schools, you will find many children who wouldn’t be there at all if they hadn’t arrived on an aeroplane!!

Now there is a lot more:

  • noise;
  • more distraction;
  • greater access to everything;
  • the internet;
  • less downtime;
  • more pressure on us all;
  • higher expectations;
  • poorer quality nourishment;
  • increased speed in just about everything and yet, the one thing that has remained constant in it all is what a child actually is, what they need and how they work and develop.

 In other words, your child is born with exactly the same ‘equipment’, senses and sensitivity as you were, but they have to process much, much more and at a faster rate than you did at their age and many of them are clearly struggling in ways that you and I did not.

All this has led me to interpret children’s behaviour, attitude to work, presentation and so on as a reflection of what is happening on the inside of the child, mentally, physically and/or emotionally. To get to the core and deliver exactly what that child needs to shine, I gather as much evidence as I can by having a consultation with parents, scrutinising school reports and any other evidence that may be relevant before meeting the child to do my own, individual assessment. Working intuitively, I put the evidence together and present parents my feedback and recommendations as part of the process.

I have uncovered many reasons for a child to have poor writing skills. It can be a sign that they have low self esteem or poor confidence, (they weren’t born with it, so where did it come from?), or they may have missed the lessons and haven’t caught up, (in which case a tutor will be perfect!) but it can also reflect difficulty in managing an emotional or developmental issue and they need the reference to be able to think about it differently.

 If a child fails to concentrate in class, they are obviously ‘busy’ in their heads. I have found many reasons for this, too, such as: too much screen time which over-stimulates the brain or some kind of learning need that is not being met; it could be that there was a life event that interrupted their development process at a crucial stage years before and they need to understand the process, the expectations and how to relegate it.

My job, as their Learning Mentor, is to do everything I can to find out why they are ‘busy’ and reconcile it so that they can progress and raise levels of achievement. This makes each teaching session bespoke and unique to the individual child and their family; the support network around them. I may be working on attitude; shifting a mindset; teaching a skill; injecting a love of reading; explaining a process; simplifying maths; boosting confidence; improving self esteem; or working on motivation and responsibility – often on more than one thing at once before advising parents on how they can be more confident in their support!

 If we want children:

  • to do well,
  • to develop pride,
  • to reach potential,
  • to have self respect and great personal management and qualities,

We need to stop leaving it to chance and provide the best lessons in life as well as in school. We need to demonstrate using the best examples and the best resources we can provide and we need to lead from the front, not rely on the child to direct us but learn to anticipate, interpret and respond appropriately to their developmental needs as they arise in their experience and processing of what they meet in the world.


Original content posted here

 Gail’s e-book, ‘A Short and Simple Book for the Why’s’ can be downloaded now from Amazon, Kobo and Nook

 To book a private consultation or a talk for your school or organisation: Gail Hugman, the Learning Mentor can be called on +44 208 447 1200.

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