The best kept secret these days is that going to see the teacher after school can improve your teen’s grades. Over the last several months I have asked a number of students (many of them clients whom I see because they or their parents want their grades to improve) if they go after school to get extra help. 90% of them say no. They say things like, “I can do it on my own I just have to take the time, work harder, study more,” etc. The other 10% say they have and that they found it helpful. If your teen is part of the 90%, you might want to ask your friends if their teens go after for help. Then without mentioning names of course, you can say you know of x number of other kids who do and they found it helpful maybe their grades have even gone up.
I usually suggest that for a teen’s toughest subject, they go after once or twice a week for two or three weeks and then compare their grade on the most recent quiz or test to one that they had before they started going after school. Once they see that the scores have gone up (and that some of their friends are there too) they might not be so apprehensive about going.
If that does not work then encourage them to at least ask the Internet wizards by searching for their topic/problem online. Sites like www.khanacademy.org, (video and audio combo makes this site my favorite) www.quizlet.com, (for flashcards and flashcard practice) and www.factmonster.com (although I don’t like the fact this site has ads) are places to start. Students can even “Google” quadratic equations for example (or whatever is stumping them at the time) and come up with over 4 million sites that can help. Sometimes students cannot understand the concept from the way it was presented in class, just getting another perspective from the Internet can make it click. Yes, I do recommend reading Sparknotes too if they struggle with reading comprehension, but they HAVE TO do the reading first and course notes for other subjects.
Winter break is a great time to take a look at some sites and do a little recon work to find help for those concepts they may not have mastered. Dare I say the midyear exams are only a week away. Whatever they have not understood up to this point, usually comes back to haunt them on the midyear or final exam.
It is okay to get help. Working harder at understanding something that you truly don’t understand is usually ineffective. As a coach I find guiding students to find their own solutions (and making it look like it was their idea) is very rewarding for all.