Who’s to Blame for a Bad Report Card?

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Report cards.

Seldom have two words caused such anxiety for both students and parents. For some, poor grades can reflect feelings of inadequacy (as a student or a parent), worries about being held back a grade, or fears of not getting into a good college.

Who’s to blame for learning struggles?

For parents, these feelings can manifest as blame: blaming their child, their child’s teacher, and/or themselves. And while many people assume that less-than-stellar grades are a reflection of poor teaching, lack of intelligence, student laziness, or poor parenting, these assumptions are almost always untrue.

The truth is that bad report cards are not a reflection of IQ. In fact, many struggling learners have higher-than-average IQ scores. IQ assessments measure an average of the combined strength of all our cognitive skills—the underlying tools we need to successfully focus, think, prioritize, plan, understand, visualize, remember, solve problems, and create useful association. These skills include things like attention, visual and auditory processing, memory, logic & reasoning, and processing speed.

It’s very common for a student to have an average or above-average IQ score and a learning problem at the same time. For example, a child who struggles with reading may have a severe deficiency in sound blending and phonemic awareness (two sub skills of auditory processing), and be well above average in other cognitive abilities. When you lump it all together, it’ll look like there’s no problem because the IQ score is average (or even above-average. In fact, that high score is masking what could be a serious problem.

What about genetics?

It’s not surprising that parents who struggled in school themselves often experience anxiety over their children’s report cards. Concerns may stem from parents’ hoping that their children get better grades than they did. Parents may also fear that they’ve somehow genetically passed on their learning struggles to their offspring.

Certainly, genetics can contribute to a small part of learning struggles (like some reading difficulties); but the majority of learning struggles are simply the result of weak cognitive skills. In a way that is good news, since weak cognitive skills can be targeted, trained, and strengthened. They are not “set in stone.”

So how do you strengthen weak cognitive skills?

Cognitive skills training (also known as “personal brain training”) incorporates immediate feedback, intensity and loading, among other features. The most effective brain training starts with a cognitive skills assessment to identify weak skills, then uses customized programs of fun, intense mental exercise to strengthen those weak skills.

Unlike tutoring, which is academics-based, brain training is skills-based. While tutoring can be effective when a student has fallen behind in specific subjects (such as history) due to an illness, injury, or family move, cognitive training targets the underlying skills needed to perform tasks (like reading) that make learning easier in any subject.

If your child is struggling in school, take the first step toward helping your child become a more confident learner by having his or her cognitive skills assessed. Cognitive testing usually takes an about an hour, and can pinpoint the weak skills that are making learning (and life!) harder than it needs to be. Click on the link below to find a LearningRx center near you and speak with someone about scheduling a cognitive assessment.

Pavlov’s Tween: Why Adolescence is the Perfect Time to do Brain Training

New research published in Nature Communications has found that adolescents’ brains react more responsively to receiving rewards. (If you’re curious, the World Health Organization defines adolescence as the period between the ages of 10 and 19.)

Although this strong reward system can lead to risky behavior, it can also be used to make learning easier. It’s something that we at LearningRx have been putting to work in our personal brain training programs for decades. Read more here:

https://media.learningrx.com/pavlovs-tween-why-adolescence-is-the-perfect-time-to-do-brain-training/

Why some tasks are easy for some, difficult for others

February 27 is National “No-Brainer” Day, created to celebrate “no-brainers:” concepts and tasks that are simple, easy and obvious to most people. But for people with learning struggles, tasks considered “no-brainers” for many others—reading, balancing a checkbook, managing time, staying organized or just paying attention for an extended period of time—can be painfully challenging.

LearningRx knows that tasks considered “no-brainers” for the average person can prove to be much more difficult for someone with one or more weak cognitive skills. For example:

https://media.learningrx.com/why-some-tasks-are-easy-for-some-difficult-for-others/

3 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month

3 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Do you have a son who is so incredibly shy that the first day of school is enough to wreak havoc on his digestive tract? Or a daughter who you worry won’t make friends due to her constant fear of meeting new people? If so, you’re not alone.

While some scientists may argue that shyness is often due to genetic predisposition, many psychologists will point to strong experiential factors. The first may bring up some feelings of empathy; if you were a shy child there’s always the possibility that some of that was passed down. The latter of the two can often be explained by past experiences of rejection or fears of future failure.

But there is good news. For children and teens who suffer from shyness, there are three major steps that parents can take to help:

https://media.learningrx.com/3-ways-to-boost-your-childs-self-esteem/

Can Allergies Help Your Memory? Researchers think so.

When has having allergies ever been a good thing? Maybe the time has come! When researchers in Austria exposed mice to grass pollen to induce an allergic reaction, they found that the reaction stimulated the growth of new neurons. It appears as though allergic reactions suppress the decline of creating new memories, which happens with aging.

 

 

Read more: http://www.learningrx.org/allergies-may-actually-help-memory/