If your offspring brings home a test paper with an "F" on it, don't ask why he or she failed. That "can lead to a response such as `Because I'm not smart enough,'" says Dale H. Schunk, professor of educational psychology and head of the Department of Educational Studies, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. He says the issue is not that the youngster needs to be smarter; it's that he or she needs to work smarter.
"In the case of the failed test, ask your child,`How did you take the test?' You may learn that your child was watching two boys in class pushing each other, and as a result, didn't have time to finish the test. If you know the problem, you can suggest a better strategy or method for dealing with it next time.
"In addition to teaching subject-area knowledge and skills, the more important goal right now in education is to teach kids to operate independently." Schunk explains that, to learn, students need to regulate themselves to achieve their desired goals.
Self-regulation requires the capability to exercise some degree of control over one's learning. That means regulating as best you can your environment, thoughts, behavior, and emotions so you can be successful. "Rarely can you control everything, but what we need for students to do is to decide what areas they can control and make a difference in. if a teacher assigns a term paper on a certain author and says it has to be 10 pages long, then there's not a lot you can could about that. But you could make a difference by asking if...