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Five key messages to share with students

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Five key messages to share with students

The great thing about being a student is that every school year brings with it the opportunity for a fresh start—a chance to begin again. However, for some children leaving the past behind can be difficult. So this month I'm sharing five key messages you may wish to read and discuss with your children, especially if any struggled in school last year.

1 Learning takes time. Learning is about getting used to things, and that takes time. Don't expect to understand how to do something right away. Most kids and adults are often uncertain and confused when first learning new things. It's natural. Ask lots of questions and practice. For most of us, learning how to do anything takes time, practice, and hard work. The key is not to get discouraged.

2 It's GOOD to make mistakes. The only way to get better and faster at doing something is by practicing and usually making lots of mistakes. That's how you learned how to walk, ride a bike, catch a ball, or print your name. You tried it over and over. You didn't let falling down or dropping the ball stop you. You knew that you'd do it – and you did! You didn't get embarrassed because making mistakes is part of the learning process. So why should school be any different? If someone teases you or laughs at a mistake, simply tell them, "Hey, I'm learning—what do you expect?" And remind them that THEY make mistakes too—we all do.

3 Look at what you CAN do! Upset about what you can't do yet? Then look at all the things you HAVE learned to do. Celebrate your past successes and remember that you'll get it eventually. To help you out, find people in your life like a parent, an aunt, an uncle, or a teacher who will be your biggest fans. They'll encourage you and help you remember how far you've come, and the talents you have, when you forget.

4 Understand how you learn best. People learn in many different ways. Some people need to see or hear how to do something, while others have to do it themselves. Some people like to learn in really small steps, while other people need to start with "the big picture" or big chunks. Still others are intuitive learners, meaning they just immediately seem to know how to do something. Most people are a mixture of different styles. It is helpful to understand your style or mixture so you can try to learn things that way, and be able to tell other people (like teachers) how you learn best.

5 It's not you, it's THEM. As a teacher, every year I tell students that if they don't understand something, then I probably haven't explained it properly, and to let me know. Never be embarrassed about asking questions or telling a teacher or an adult, "I don't get it". There are many ways to explain something. It might just be you need a different way due to your particular learning style, and that should be OK. Be sure to speak up.

Interested in having Rob speak at your child's school? For contact information and to access his free monthly newsletter Visit