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Resolve to Look at Learning in a New Way in 2016

by | Jan 12, 2016 | Children, Community, Education, Fredericksburg, Parenting, School, Spotsylvania, Students, Test Strategies, Tutoring | 0 comments

Frequently, I get a phone call from a concerned parent that sounds something like this:  My child did so well in elementary/middle school.  At that time, the work was easy.  They rarely had homework and always made good grades.  Now that they are in middle/high school/college, the work has gotten harder; they have stopped trying; and their grades are really suffering!  They used to love school but now they seem to have lost all interest!  What is going on here?

The short answer is that often these students believe that their performance is a reflection of their intelligence and that intelligence is a fixed trait.  So therefore they assume, if they are making bad grades, then they must be stupid, and as the expression goes: you can’t fix stupid!  As adults, we know this is not true!   

Interestingly, students who continue to thrive during times of challenge often have a different way of thinking about and approaching learning.  They have what Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset.  They believe that anything can be accomplished through hard work and increased effort.  I know, it sounds like the premise of every motivational poster, in every classroom, everywhere.  But it’s true; success in school primarily comes from hard work, motivation and resilience, not just innate ability.

Funny portrait of cute little girl looking through magnifying glass.Curious Smiling little girl looking through magnifying glass over white background.

Here are five things you can do to help your child become a better student in 2016:

1- Teach them that sustained effort over time is the key to achievement.

The single most important contributing factor for achievement, according to psychologists who study creative geniuses, is the willingness to put in huge amounts of effort, to be able to maintain this effort in the face of obstacles, and to bounce back from failure by continuing to try new things.

2- Teach them to seek out and pursue new challenges.

Emphasize that easy tasks are not fun and encourage them to challenge themselves to do work and learn material that will be new and interesting.

3- Teach them that intelligence is not simply a fixed thing you are born with but something that can also be developed through effort.

Anyone can learn new things thus changing their level of intelligence.  Challenge your children to expand their intelligence by confronting challenges, working hard, reading, studying, and examining times that they did not do well to figure out what they need to learn in order to do better next time.

4- Teach them to value learning over grades or test scores.

Help your children understand that their current performance, grade, or test score reflects their current level of skill and effort, not  their worth or level of intelligence.  If they are disappointed in their performance or not satisfied with their grades, tell them that they need to: work harder, find new learning opportunities, study more or more efficiently, or seek out help.  Obviously grades are important, but this should be a balance.  Set goals that are learning oriented as well as setting performance oriented goals, and make sure that students are not sacrificing learning opportunities or playing it safe in order to guarantee good grades!  

Athletes often understand this well. You should be performance oriented during a test or graded assignment, much like you would be in a game.  Then you should use the feedback from that performance, like athletes use game tapes, to learn from mistakes and improve.  The teacher, much like a coach, is there to help you improve by showing you what to focus on, giving feedback, and helping to learn new skills.

5- Teach them study skills that will put them in charge of their own learning.

Students who have had an easy time in school often have not developed the tools that they need to confront and deal with learning challenges in order to improve.  Study skills like setting goals, time-management, allocating study time, reading a textbook, and note-taking are often not taught in schools but are very necessary to becoming a successful learner as a student and in the workplace.

When a student who has had an easy time in school, confronts a new learning challenge, they often do not know how to handle that challenge.  By emphasizing a growth mindset, hard work, and study skills parents can equip their child to take control of their own learning and face challenges with confidence and determination.


-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC
540-999-8759

                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

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Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

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