Friday, December 11, 2009

This year it was a good report mum

I have been musing today over the power of language. The way we say things makes a difference. Last year my daughter was suffering very much from a low self esteem at school. She did not feel confident in her abilities and often saw herself as failing rather than as having challenges ahead of her. When we read her report together she saw the language 'below the expected level' and instantly begged me not to show the report to anyone. She didn't want her grandparents to know she was failing. It was very upsetting.

This year the school has reworded the reports. She has done very well with everyone remarking on her lovely personality and helpful manner and the only area she is struggling with continues to be maths. But this year the report states 'near the expected level'. We had a chat and I explained that this meant she was making good progress and the report was showing her that this was where she needed to put her efforts. She was very happy and bounced all over the place with the thought of success and challenges ahead.

What a difference the change of one word makes. We underestimate the power of words for motivation and self esteem. Please do not let the deficit words of 'below' or 'well below' anywhere near our students.

3 comments:

Allanah King said...

This is one of the reasons I despair of the affects of National Standards. If we are told that we are not good enough we won't be good enough.

Attitude to learning is a big chunk of how well we do.

Relationships are everything. Self belief can become self fulfilling.

dragonsinger57 said...

it took one comment from a "respected" teacher to make my daughter decide NOT to repeat her 7th form year ...

the power of words is huge ...

i'm glad there's been such a positive outcome for you and your daughter ...

Podgorani said...

nice work, and well done to that school, as long as the communication is there, then children won't cop the stress. Stress is bad enough for adults, it's a crime to pile stress on kids.