Tip of the Week

February 3, 2020

Changing a Mind is Difficult Work

“Changing a mind is difficult work.”  – Seth Godin

Getting a student to buy-in and change their way of thinking (to be able to build new habits) is challenging, especially when you’re expecting them to do something they don’t think is useful or will require more work on their part. So how do you help a student get over that hurdle? A few suggestions. 

  1. Be their partner. Very few people respond well to criticism, arguments, or lectures. Let your child know you’re there to help however they need it. Be his partner, not his adversary.
  2. Keep it positive. Shift the focus away from negative consequences (what you’ll take away or what they’ll miss out on), to the positive outcomes of getting the job done: not feeling pressured or overwhelmed at the last minute; a chance to do something they enjoy guilt-free; feeling significantly more in control of their academic life. 
  3. Try and understand what’s at the root of their unwillingness to engage and offer targeted solutions. Perhaps the student is overwhelmed, has trouble initiating tasks, doesn’t understand the assignment, or doesn’t even know what the assignment is. Identify where they’re getting stuck and problem-solve from there much more successfully.