Early Childhood Learning Part 1: Building Confidence Part 1

Far too often when students are young they are infected with the idea that they “aren’t good at ______” (fill in the blank with any subject or activity) . This is happening to our children at younger and younger ages and is truly crippling them in ways that parents and teachers don’t even realize. ¬†Children enter school without any “learned limitations” and are sponges for any and all material, both good and bad. As they start learning, there is a natural separation of “good students” from “not so good students”. This is where the damage begins. Teachers, quite naturally, begin separating students into ability groups so that they can more effectively address the needs of the students who are at disparate levels. This in and of itself is fine, however, it is usually accompanied by a far more damaging component: the-you-aren’t-good-at-X seed.

Imagine a mother who is picking up her 1st grade daughter from school and decides that before she and her daughter head home, she wants to speak to her daughter’s teacher on her progress. She pleasantly greets the teacher who smiles and starts highlighting all of little Suzie’s great accomplishments. She explains how well she is doing in Art and Science, how well behaved she is, and what a pleasure she is to have in class. All very nice things, but then she drops the hammer: “Suzie has been struggling a little in math, she is still at grade level but it’s not her strongest subject. ” A seemingly innocuous comment that plants the I’m-not-good-at-math seed. We all have seen the results of this seed, as Suzie grows older more of her teachers will water and fertilize this seed. Her parents will ¬†do the same when giving friends and family updates on Suzie’s progress saying things like “Suzie’s doing great in everything Art,Science, her behavior is great, but like me, she’s not too good at math.”

We’ll delve into the damaging consequences of this all-too-common scenario in detail in the upcoming posts.

1 Comment

  1. Akemi

    December 26, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

    1

    Interesting blog. I look forward to reading new posts.

    This problem not only hinders a child’s confidence in maths or English (or any other activity including P.E.). Many children are planted the seed of “I don’t belong in school”; leading them to under perform and quite school early. Educators are usually (I hope) aware of this problem. All parents should be informed on how their actions and comments can unintentionally hinder a child’s progress.

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