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FIVE HABITS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF YOUR CHILD
- REGULAR ATTENDANCE: A concept cannot be delivered with the same quality outside of the classroom. Moreover, much of the course involves discussion. A child who is repeatedly absent will not have the understanding of those who attend regularly and if absences are excessive, the child may be asked to complete the course online.
- READING: Insist that your child reads outside of school, preferably novels, but at the very least the front page and one editorial article from a local newspaper. Reading familiarizes your child with how writers write and also improves his or her vocabulary. There is a very strong correlation between extra curricular reading and success in school.
- REVISING: Students who revise corrected work improve their composition skills at a significantly faster rate than students who do not; unfortunately, most students believe that once an assignment has been graded the work is done. Instead, they should be looking at the comments, focusing on one aspect of the writing and revising that work to improve that one aspect. This should also provide a focus for the next assignment they write.
- ORGANIZED NOTEBOOKS: I am always surprised by the number of students, who after ten years of schooling, cannot clip a piece of paper into a binder, even when given directions and the time to complete the task. These students are often at a loss when tests roll around. Take a moment and see if your child's binder has any semblance of organization. Check their backpacks - Are numerous handouts filed (scrunched up) at the bottom? If so, make them file all the notes.
- ATTENDING TUTORIALS: A student's writing skills will typically improve more in one on one tutorials than in class. These sessions deal specifically with the needs of the individual and give the student a specific skill on which to focus.
WHY STUDENTS FAIL
Most failures can be attributed to two factors: poor attendance and incomplete work.
Here is a little graphic that illustrates the impact of failing to complete one writing assignment. This is simply the math.
This scenario is for a "C" student who typically earns 60% on assignments:
Assignment# 1 2 3 4 5 6
Mark /10 0/10 6/10 6/10 6/10 6/10 6/10
Total Marks 0/10 6/20 12/30 18/40 24/50 30/60
percentage 0 30% 40% 45% 48% 50%
Note the number of assignments the student must complete before his or her grade returns to a passing percentage!
This scenario is for a "B" student who typically earns 75% on assignments:
Assignment# 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Mark /10 0/10 7.5/10 7.5/10 7.5/10 7.5/10 7.5/10 7.5/10
Total Marks 0/10 7.5/20 15/30 22/40 30/50 37/60 45/70
percentage 0 37% 50% 56% 60% 62% 65%
Even strong students are seriously affected by poor work habits! And this may explain why your "A" or "B" student is performing below expectations.
IMPROVING WRITTEN WORK
- With respect to writing, I expect each student to address three
mechanical errors per year. That's correct - just three. For a student with numerous problems, this is less intimidating than trying to solve all errors in a single semester, and if they can do
this, then by the end of grade 12, their writing should be relatively
- I also introduce and expect the students to add three stylistic elements to their writing each year. Again, in grade 10 they may not be incredible writers, but if they focus on three significant changes per year, they should be strong writers by grade 12.
These are not excessive, but they do require the student to determine a focus and then be willing to invest time and effort to address their individual goal. This may require extra worksheets; they may need to attend tutorials; they may need to revise written work several times. But if they do so, by grade 12 they should be competent if not strong writers.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR REQUIRE AN UPDATE ON YOUR CHILD'S PROGRESS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME. EMAIL IS USUALLY THE MOST EFFICIENT. MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS firstname.lastname@example.org