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The 'A' Team: Our aim is to work together with you, your child, your Tutor and your School to form a network of educational support around your child's tuition.

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THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT ON LEARNING

Stuart Adams, BAppSc GradCertCarEdDev MSc MTeach

Unlocking potential

Q: Have you ever wondered why some people achieve some things with ease, whilst others find the same things near impossible?  Even though we all have different genetic capabilities, why is it that some people reach their full genetic potential, whereas others don’t even come close?

When it comes to our children’s academic performance and their future success, wouldn’t you like the keys to unlock their full potential and the powerful tools to build them a strong solid future? Imagine you had your own personal team at your disposal, with the expertise and passion for supporting you and your child, in achieving those very goals?

Regardless of the genetic make and model, the road we travel is largely guided by our thoughts, and driven by our feelings.  It is only when we understand the cyclical relationship between emotions, cognition and behaviour, that we become empowered to intervene. 

Momentum from experience

One of the most influential yet underestimated aspects of learning is emotion. How we feel towards something effects how we think about it, and subsequently what we do about it. On the positive end of the scale, there are things which we enjoy, have confidence in and a motivation towards. At the opposite end however are things which we hate, are fearful of and no motivation towards. Whether or not something (including school activities or particular subjects) fall towards the positive or negative end of this scale largely depends on thought : feeling : action cycles which develop and gain momentum following our experiences. Because most experiences occur incidentally, many of those cycles are driven automatically. If we understand how to modify those experiences however, we can not only break the cycles, but reverse them in a positive direction.

The fear cycle: A barrier to true potential

The following describes the processes by which a child’s ‘weaknesses’ begins, progress, develop and spirals out of control – often into adulthood. The cyclical pattern described below is the number one reason that many students fail to reach their true potential, why many drop out of school and why many students struggle with their HSC subjects far more than they need to. The cycle can apply to anything, so “X” could be Mathematics, English, Homework, Essays, Exams, Creativity, Art, Sport,  Social Interaction, Public Speaking – the list is unlimited. Cycles which start during school years often continue into adulthood, and can last a lifetime if not altered.

  • The child approaches X with no confidence. (Thought: The belief they are not good at X. Emotion: Fear of the unfamiliar).
  • Their lack of confidence impairs them from doing well at X. (Despite our conscious thoughts and actions, our subconscious beliefs act as an invisible yet powerful force).
  • Their poor performance reinforces the belief that they are not good at X.  As an emotional side effect, the fear of unfamiliarity now turns to fear of failure, and by doing so produces a ‘wound’ in the child’s self-esteem.
  • Now reattempting X is like running a race with a wounded leg. The reinforced fear handicaps their efforts, and results in poor performance again. This experience further reinforces their belief and associated fear.
  • At some point, this poor performance is likely to attract some form of criticism. Even if done so with constructive intentions, the criticism of what they are already feeling vulnerable about only adds salt to the wound and reinforces the existing negative cycle more than ever.
  • By this stage, the pain and fear of failure has become so great, the minds defence mechanisms kicks in. So now the conscious mind interprets X with frustration, irritation and perhaps even hatred. Either way, the child has formed a negative attitude towards X.
  • This negative attitude will affect how they perceive anything to do with X. For example, even if they do better the next time they attempt X, the child is less likely to notice their progress and instead focus on their failings or other negative aspects about X. (This psychological effect is similar to the ‘placebo effect’ in reverse). By this stage the child has become especially sensitive to criticism about X, and is likely respond poorly to praise even when they do well at X.
  • Now that the belief and fear is so strongly established, the negative wheels are set in motion. From this point forward the cycle continues to gain momentum and spiral out of control. If X happens to be a school subject or something which they will have to continue doing for the rest of their school life, some of the more detrimental signs that a negative cycle is in place will appear during High School. Other than a negative attitude, the student will struggle finding motivation to engage in any learning associated with X and may experience difficulty concentrating on X related activities. Motivation and difficulty concentrating will of course impair their performance leading to poor marks, criticism and further drives the cycle with more and more momentum. 

    The negative cycle which may have begun back in Primary School becomes especially problematic around HSC time, even when the student tries to force themselves to learn and study, their motivation and concentration are only impaired further by the stress they now face about how their HSC marks will affect their future. Whilst it is never too late to intervene, parents must understand that the more momentum these cycles have gained, the more difficult it becomes to slow the cycle and then reverse it.

    The tell tale signs of negative cycles

    In school, when the student receives lowered marks, the effect builds the belief that they are not good at the subject. By the time the cycle is complete, the student not only dislikes the subject but any attempt they make to approach it is met with difficulty such as impaired motivation and increased distractibility.

    As a parent, these negative cycles may have already developed and gained significant momentum in our children without us even realising. One of the most intervention tools is simply the ability to identify the warning signs. Early signs include:

  • Negative attitude towards the subject when asked about it.
  • Obvious poor motivation or increased ease of distractibility.
  • An increase in difficulty getting your child to do their homework.
  • As the child grows into adolescence and adulthood, the separation of consciousness tends to widen, as the conscious mind now employs logic to support a lesser burdening belief. In other words, the persons conscious rationalisation for why they don’t like the task has adapted so that it better fits with something they can feel intelligent about.

    How we can help

    Our tutors specifically modify their teaching methods based on your child’s individual needs and learning styles. 

    The first step is to identify your child’s strengths, including those which may be hidden strengths.  Personal strengths can be strategically utilized to bridge gaps in existing weaknesses. New strengths are then discovered and developed in the process, whilst weaknesses shrink and fade into extinction. Know More...

    The second step is to identify and expand your child’s passions and interests. By adapting lessons to be more personally relevant to your child's interests, the learning process becomes more engaging, more fun and more motivating. Know More...

    The third step is to recondition the way your child feels towards areas of school work they have been struggling with. By applying strategic goal setting techniques and redirecting their focus towards progress, the student builds confidence in areas they previously struggled to focus on. Know More...

    The fourth step is to improve the way your child feels towards identifying and correcting their own mistakes, to become a more autonomous and efficient learner. Know More...

     

    THE BEST STRATEGIES FOR THE BEST RESULTS

    Cognition: How we think affects what we lean

    LEARNING...

    Your tutor will identify your child's strongest 'intelligences', establish their individual learning styles and adapt teaching methods accordingly for best results!

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    UNDERSTANDING...

    Your tutor will apply constructivist teaching methods to build new knowledge step by step so that your child makes sense of new information with ease.

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    THINKING...

    Your tutor will explore new concepts progressively deeper with your child and expand understanding by developing higher order thinking skills.

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    APPLICATION...

    Your tutor will focus heavily on boosting assessment scores by improving your child's exam taking and assignment competencies, as well as IT and literacy skills.

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    Emotion: What we feel affects how we learn.

    STRENGTHS...

    Weaknesses are merely those things which have yet to be strengthened. Your tutor will strategically discover and develop your child's strengths to overcome weakness.

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    PASSION...

    To overcome the boredom barrier, your tutor will strategically appeal to your child's interests to make learning more engaging and personally relevant.

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    CONFIDENCE...

    Through strategic goal setting and a strong focus on progress, expect to see your child's attitude shine and their motivation drive full steam ahead!

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    AUTONOMY...

    Reflective practice is an effective tool used to power efficient learning. Learning from ones mistakes however requires strategic conditioning and adaptation.

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    Your decision to get a tutor may save your child’s future in an ever increasing competitive world where the bottleneck of success is ever tightening.Know More...

    Whether or not your children succeed in their schooling depends on how positive or negative thought - feeling - action cycles are conditioned. We will show you how negative cycles begin and how to go about reversing them. Know More...

    Having a personal tutor not only boosts your child’s learning at home during tuition sessions, but affects what goes on for them at school as well. Know More...

    Your child's performance depends on multiple parts of the brain all working at optimal levels. Learn how the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain must work in sync to bring out their best! Know More...

    We truly are what we eat. Whilst a healthy diet affects our body, many people underestimate the impact that nutrition has on the brain. Learn how to make sure your child is eating for success! Know More...