Worried about pandemic ‘lost’ teaching? How to boost your teenager’s confidence at school

Adolescence is already a tricky time, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As attention turns to the future in what should hopefully be a post-pandemic world, many parents, teachers, and pupils have become increasingly worried about the impact of hundreds of hours of lost teaching. There is still a lot at stake for pupils in the upcoming school year — especially for those completing GCSEs. This article will detail resources for parents and students who fear that they may need more personalized attention when it comes to their education.

1. Seek out tutoring and coaching

The Department of Education has promised £4.9bn in catch-up funding for schools to help recover lost learning, creating the National Tutoring Program to specifically tackle this. Regrettably, this has yet to show much in the way of concrete impact, and the government has come under fire for its glaring failures — only 10% of 2021’s take-up targets have been met. Make no mistake — the intention behind these schemes is noble, and schools have jumped at the prospect of financial support for additional student tutoring. For the time being, however, this may be something that parents have to take into their own hands.

Courses from PMT Education, for instance, can be invaluable. Tailored to meet students’ needs as they evolve throughout the year, they rely on tutors who “have been recruited not only on the strength of their academic and professional credentials but also for their innovative teaching styles”. A designated tutor or educational coach can develop a strong rapport with your child, in order to fill in their learning gaps to give them a confidence boost when preparing for exams. They take their specific struggles into consideration and place zero limits on what they think a student can achieve.

2. Help with active revision

One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of school life is exams. This makes it even more difficult when young people are faced with challenges that make them feel helpless in an already challenging situation. You can help empower your child by guiding them in the right direction, which can be a godsend for future revision practices and sitting the exam on the day.

Creating a revision schedule is a great way to help your child (or teenager) structure their learning and break down what seems like an intimidating amount of exam prep into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Use positive reinforcement to encourage them and offer rewards for completing a day’s studying, such as an evening of playing Xbox, chatting with friends on social media, or any fun and creative activity you know they like. Creating incentives like this improves confidence, as they will feel praised for having put in the effort.

It’s important to make sure they’re not overwhelmed or interrupted. As The Parent’s Guide to advises, you should help them “find a calm space to revise. Things to consider are noise levels, lighting, ability to store their papers tidily, not being disturbed by other family members”.

3. Encourage learning outside of school

One of the main struggles for students with confidence issues is that they feel that, because they are not doing so well in class, they are not successful in life full stop. Much of this struggle, however, may come from not being able to apply what they are being taught to real-life situations.

Fostering hobbies and interests with an educational angle is a double-whammy: it nourishes certain transferable skills needed in the classroom and gives pupils a break from an environment that may be intensifying their lack of confidence. When they see success in other areas more relevant to their interests, they can take their renewed confidence back to the classroom with them. If your child is struggling with maths, for instance, you could ask them to participate with you in creating the family budget. Learning a musical instrument also utilized the very same arithmetic that is essential for their academic work.

Remember that watching YouTube videos or browsing the internet isn’t always a negative thing either. These can assist your children to develop what they already know and familiarise themselves with learning and solving problems independently.Ted-Ed, for example, is the most popular channel online for young people’s education — so much so that it is regularly used by teachers to consolidate learning in their lessons. It’s also completely free.

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