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You're Killing Your Child's Chances For Success In School

Aug 17, 2007
I know for a fact that students in my classes don't have to improve their memory. They tell me the details of their video games or their favorite sports teams without even stopping to think.

Yet, they can't seem to remember information for tests and quizzes. A coincidence? Do they have to improve their memory? I don't think so.

To get to the root of the problem, it's necessary to see what happens when a student struggles. Normally, the parents are called and a parent teacher conference is scheduled.

In those conferences, parents say that a lot of interesting things. In terms of memory ability, it seems parents struggled (and continue to struggle) with memory issues. They point out that they themselves had the same trouble their child is having so they're not surprised at the results. Disappointed, concerned, but not surprised.

When I hear that, I immediately think of the conversation that has probably gone on at home since elementary school.

Child: "Mom, Dad, I didn't do so well on this test. I keep forgetting stuff."

Mom: "I had a terrible memory, also. I guess it's in the family. Your father could never remember, either."

So what does your child begin to think after a while? It's probably something like this: "Why try to study? It's a done deal. It's in the genes."

The trap is set and your child falls into it. An occassional test comes back with a good grade but the overall picture is bleak. You see, the good grade was lucky. The bad grades are the norm. And your child never realizes that it's possible to learn memory skills.

But wait! Your child doesn't have to worry about improving their memory. They remember sports, movies, TV shows and video games. What's the deal?

I know what you're going to say. "He's interested in those things. Of course, he can remember!"

Well, that's a great first step. His memory is working fine. It's just school work that he doesn't remember.

Let's look at four things you can do today to turn that around.

Here they are:

1 - Start from the premise that your child's ability to remember information is fine. Once you do that, you can change the way you talk about poor grades and memorizing. As we've just seen, it's more a question of interest than it is ability.

2 - Learn about memory strategies. Your job is to help your child find ways to make learning. storing and retrieving information more interesting. You can discover dozens of ways to look at information, put it into a form that's easily filed and then easily recalled. And the style you choose can fit your child's preferred learning style.

3 - Encourage your child. Tell them they can do well. Help them to understand the process of learning. Everyone does it the same way: You find ways to look at material that work for you, not your friend or your neighbor. Maybe you learn with pictures, maybe you like to listen or maybe you like to get up and move. Success depends on finding your style and using it.

4 - Don't expect miracles overnight. Like all new habits, there is a period of adjustment where you won't see much change. Don't stop! You can help your child learn more easily if you just take it slow and easy. Think of it like watering a plant. You give enough water each day and then you let it be. Over time, the plant grows. You can't explain why but it does. Your child will develop better habits the same way.

So, there you go. Change your habits and you can change your child's path to success. Memory skills are just one area you need to look at. Just remember. It begins with you.
About the Author
Jim Sarris is a veteran teacher and author of two books on memory, Comic Mnemonics for Spanish Verbs and Memory Skills Made Easy, a book/DVD that helps students remember more of what they study. No struggles, no hassles, no headaches. For a free report and more information, visit Improve your memory.
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