How to Positively Reinforce School Participation

For most young children, school is a time to see their friends while they play games and learn about the world around them. As children get older, school begins to feel more like an obligation rather than something they’d like to actively engage in. They may attend classes because they have to, but they’re not truly invested in their classes or activities around them. Students who remain disengaged may struggle with behavioral issues, social isolation, or school refusal. This is why early educational interventions for low engaging students could be effective in decreasing delinquency and substance use and preventing adolescents from dropping out of high school.

Helping Your Student Invest in School

Students engage with their school in three major ways: Behaviorally- where she actively participates in academics. Emotionally- where she is emotionally engaged with her school and feels like she belongs. Here she enjoys learning and values success in school. Intellectually- where she has strategies for learning and an ability to self-regulate her academic pursuits. If you feel like your daughter is disengaged from school, there are ways to get her involved again in a positive way: 

Encourage your daughter to get involved. The teenage years for teenage girls can be a time when she is searching for where she belongs. She may be outgrowing old friend groups and looking for new connections. During this time, involvement in school activities can be crucial to keeping her invested in her school experience. Have her explore her interests and find activities that fit the bill. For example, if she has an interest in photography, a photography club or working on the school newspaper can give her a sense of belonging, surrounded by peers who share the same interests. 

Help her find the right teachers. Each student learns their own way, and when students feel left out or left behind, they may begin to disengage. The “right” teachers are the ones who understand your child’s learning style. These are the teachers who will check in with your daughter when they see her struggling or falling behind. According to an article from the University of Michigan, the adults in a teen’s life, such as parents and teachers, play a strong role in student engagement. Even more than their peers. 

Teach her to build resiliency. One reason your daughter may be avoiding school may be that she is afraid of making mistakes or failing. Teenagers feel emotions deeply, and the idea of experiencing embarrassment in front of teachers or classmates can be terrifying. Instead of seeing mistakes as a bad thing, teach your daughter to see setbacks as new learning opportunities. Remind her that every time she “fails”, she is actually gaining new skills and knowledge. If she believes that setbacks are temporary and that she will come out stronger on the other side of it, she will be better equipped to bounce back and continue forward. 

Stay connected. It can be hard to feel connected to your daughter during the teen years. You may feel that she is pushing you away and she tries to assert her independence. And while it is important to encourage her growth, it is equally as important to stay involved with her life. Get to know her friends. Communicate with her teachers. Give her opportunities to share about her day and life without judgment. When you are connected with her day to day life, you are more likely to see the warning signs of when she feels overwhelmed or disengaged. 

Asheville Academy Can Help

At Asheville Academy, we know that learning is not a one size fits all endeavor. Our Learning Support Specialist provides additional individual attention to those who need it, both inside and outside the classroom. Each student is assigned an academic advisor, who works with students to set goals, stay organized, and manage their time appropriately, which paves the road to success.

We understand that receiving an excellent education is just as important to your child’s future as their mental health. Studies show that doing well in school correlates to better emotional health overall. That is why we do everything in our power to help your child achieve success in school. We do this by creating an IAP (individualized academic plan) based on your child’s learning needs and their academic strengths. For more information please call (800) 264-8709.

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