Many believe that the students of the 21st century struggle in school more than previous generations, and rising dropout rates and lowering college completion statistics indicate this is very true. The trick is understanding the root causes of why students struggle so much early on and to address these issues before they cause the nation's youth to give up on their education.
According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), high school is the time to tackle student struggling. Nearly 50 percent of students in urban high school drop out before graduating, and 40 percent fail multiple classes in ninth grade. Is this because they are ill prepared in middle school, or because the work load is too difficult? We at Grand Key Education believe it is because students aren't getting the proper skills early enough to take ownership of their education and their lives. This is why we developed the Own It! program.
In order to tackle the effects of student struggling we need to examine the causes. Here are a few of the top reasons that students struggle in school:
Boredom – It's not that students can't do an assignment, but that they are bored by it. This could be because students lack the self-motivation to tackle tasks that are more difficult on their own, adding their own challenges to easier assignments in order to learn more from the work. This self-motivation will also translate into their professional lives later on, improving work performance and helping them be more successful in their careers.
Personal problems – Many students struggle because of problems in their personal lives as well, be it family, their friends or other relationships. Students that are taught how to separate and balance their personal lives from school and work are more likely to ignore these issues when faced with assignments, focusing on the task at hand and being able to overcome these barriers to success. This allows them to partition personal struggles from school ones and continue to perform well in the face of adversity.
Poor communication – Many students don't learn how to communicate their struggles properly. If they don't understand an assignment or the text they are supposed to read they give up, rather than going to their teachers for help, because they don't know how to communicate their struggle without feeling like it is their fault, or there is something wrong with them. Teaching students how to communicate challenges and take control of these situations will ensure that they feel comfortable going to their teachers when they don't understand something.
Self-advocacy – In some cases, students feel like they aren't in control of their lives, which affects their ability to concentrate and perform in class. It is important that students learn to be self-advocates, taking responsibility for their future and visioneering a path to the life they want to live, rather than feeling trapped by their circumstances.
Support – Students need support to achieve success, and the Own It! program can help them support themselves while learning to seek out appropriate support from their teachers, peers and parents. Learning how to think like an owner will translate into better critical thinking and decision making skills, and ultimately push students to try harder and achieve great things during their time in school.
The Own It! program focuses on 10 training units that will guide students to becoming self-motivated, advocating owners that take charge of their own lives, rather than allowing themselves to become distracted or overwhelmed in school. This can help to address some of the beginning issues that lead to struggles in class and early drop out rates.