Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do about It: A Six-Step Program for Parents and Teachers / Edition 3

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Overview

Dr. Rimm describes a realistic, compassionate, no-nonsense, six-step program to reverse the epidemic of underachievement that exists in today's schools. This manual, for parents and teachers, contains practical advice, step-by-step examples, and sample dialogue to use with bright but underachieving children.

In Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades, Dr. Rimm explains: How to tell if a child is underachieving, Patterns of underachievement, How parents (unintentionally) contribute to underachievement, Ways in which schools cause underachievement, Consequences of dependency and dominance in children, Tips for solving homework struggles, The role of competition, How parents and teachers can work together, Methods of finding positive role models, Techniques to help children take more responsibility for themselves, Approaches to encourage independence and self-organization, Plans that build resiliency, A proven model for reversing underachievement, Rimm's 12 Laws of Achievement.

About the Author:
Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D., is a psychologist and best-selling author who has appeared regularly on NBC's Today show. She is director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780910707879
  • Publisher: Great Potential Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 388
  • Sales rank: 417,419
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: What Is Underachievement?

Our nation continually searches for better ways to educate its children. National and international studies routinely report depressing statistics about U.S. children's lack of basic skills, inadequate knowledge of science, below-average skills in mathematics, inept critical thinking, and poor problem-solving abilities, as well as their lack of readiness for post-high school education and the workforce. The U.S. Department of Education conducted a study, ending in 2001, which reported that only 53% of students who enter a four-year institution actually earn a bachelor's degree.

These problems have been blamed on such villains as television, movies, violent computer and video games, the economy, the breakdown of the family, large classes, the Internet, not enough class time, shortages of funds, and poor discipline. Education professionals complicate the discussion by use of such inside jargon as "cultural deprivation," "learning disabilities," "tracking," "test bias," "no child left behind," "Title One," and "inclusion." Children are diagnosed with disorders such as Learning Disability, Executive Dysfunction difficulties, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Overanxious Disorder, and Depressive Reaction. The endless controversy can be bewildering to most parents who may not also be educators, as well as for educators who truly want to teach children.

All of these debates about why American children don't learn as well as they should ignore a very basic issue. Even if we add time to the school day, give new titles to federal funding, increase teacher salaries, reduce class size, fundeducation for children with special needs, and change tests to reflect differences in cultural environments and learning styles,we are still not facing a central problem in our schools.

Millions of children who have no actual diagnosable disorder that would affect learning-children with average, above-average, and even gifted intellectual abilities, including those from homes where education is valued-are simply not performing up to their capabilities. These children may be very creative or verbally or mathematically precocious, yet despite their abilities, they do not perform well in school. Social and emotional factors are the culprits, and psychological strategies must be used to prevent and reverse their underachievement.

Underachievers sit in virtually every classroom and live in many families. They waste educational resources, try the patience of even the best teachers, manipulate their families toward chaos, and destroy their own confidence and sense of personal control.

The problem is disconcertingly widespread. When I appeared for a five-minute interview on NBC's Today show covering the topic of bright, underachieving children, that one segment attracted more than 20,000 phone calls and thousands of letters from distressed parents from all over the country (see Figure 1.1). It seems that I had hit a raw nerve for tens of thousands of families who recognized the symptoms of Underachievement Syndrome in their children...
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xv
Preface     xvii
Rimm's Laws of Achievement     xxi
How to Get the Most Out of This Book     xxiii
Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades     1
What Is Underachievement?     3
What Do Underachievers Look Like?     10
Categories of Underachievement     11
Perfectionist Pearl     11
Poor Polly     12
Passive Paul     12
Sick Sam     13
Taunted Terris     14
Depressed Donna     15
Torn Tomas     16
Jock Jack, Social Shaundra, and Dramatic Dan     17
Academic Alice     18
Manipulative Maria     19
Creative Chris     20
Rebellious Rebecca     22
Hyperactive Harry     23
Bully Bob     24
How to Determine if Your Child Has Underachievement Syndrome     24
Early Risks     27
The Too Soon Child     27
The Overwelcome Child     28
Early Health Problems     30
Gender Issues     32
Particular Sibling Combinations     35
Specific Parenting Relationships     39
The Gifted Child     41
Conclusion: Dependence and Dominance     42
Parents as Role Models     45
Positive and Negative Models     46
I Didn't Like School Either     47
The Disorganized Home     48
Passive-Aggressive Parenting     49
Overworked Parents     51
Post-Divorce Parents     52
Cross-Gender Identification     56
Parent Rivalry     59
Combinations of the Rituals     70
Dependency and Dominance     75
Counteridentification     75
Fostering Dependency     77
Fostering Dominance     82
Summary     88
School Causes of Underachievement Syndrome     91
Structure     91
Competition     93
Labeling     95
Negative Attention     99
Boredom     103
Peer Pressure     107
What You Can Do about It     109
Parenting toward Achievement     111
Modeling Achievement     111
Power and Control     114
Giving Clear, Positive Messages     115
Reasonable Praise     116
Consistency between Parents     117
Consistency within a Parent     119
"Beat the System" Messages     121
Referential Speaking     121
Competition-Winning and Losing     124
Organization     126
Homework and Study Habits     128
Grades and Rewards     129
The Indulgence Traps     130
Family Structure Considerations     133
After Divorce     133
Single Parenting     134
The Blended Family     136
The Visitation Family     138
Teaching toward Achievement     141
Differentiated Curriculum     141
Building Task Value     147
Teaching Healthy Competition     148
Teaching to the Emotional Needs of Students     152
Competitiveness     155
Boyfriend Worries     155
Power and Peer Issues     155
Finishing the ALLIANCE Acrostic     156
How You Can Reverse Underachievement Syndrome Using the Trifocal Model-Step One: Assessment     159
Adapting the Trifocal Model for Disadvantaged Students     161
Assessment     161
Formal Assessment     164
Informal Assessment      169
Determining the Next Step     184
Step Two: Communication between Teachers, Parents, and Students     187
Teacher-Initiated Communication     187
Parent-Initiated Communication     191
Tracking Student Progress     195
The Next Three Steps: Expectations, Role Models, and Deficiencies     201
Changing Expectations     201
Personal Expectations     201
Parent Expectations     204
Sibling Expectations     206
Teacher Expectations     207
Peer Expectations     209
Role Model Identification     213
Sources of Models     214
Process for Encouraging Identification     219
Correcting Deficiencies     221
Anxieties and Special Skill Deficits     222
The Last Step     225
What You Can Do for Dependent Children     227
What You Can Do as Parents     227
Vote of Confidence     228
The Place of Shelter     231
Encouraging Same-Gender Identification for Boys     232
Expressing Feelings     233
Organizational Skills     235
Teaching Competition     238
Teaching Social Skills      239
Encouraging Activities with Intrinsic Interest     240
Easing Perfectionism     241
Teaching Deferred Judgment     245
Independent Homework     248
Incomplete Schoolwork or Homework     255
Teaching Concentration     258
Extra-Credit Work     260
Goal-Directed Tutoring     260
Keeping Children in the Mainstream     261
What You Can Do as a Teacher     263
Vote of Confidence     263
Multiple Methods for Giving Instructions     264
Completing Classwork and Homework     265
Teaching a Growth Mindset     267
Building Resilience through Biography     267
Focusing Attention     267
Teaching Goal Setting     269
Teaching Organizational Strategies     273
Test Anxiety     276
Social Rewards     277
Teaching Other Children     278
Punishment     278
Creative Problem Solving     280
What You Can Do for Dominant Conforming Underachievers     283
What You Can Do as Parents     284
Monitoring Counteridentification     285
Competition      286
Intrinsic Motivation     287
Parent Messages     288
Sensitivity     290
Acceptance of Criticism     292
What You Can Do as a Teacher     294
Keeping Academics Central     294
Acceleration or Grade Skipping     295
Acceptance of Criticism     296
Intrinsic Motivation     298
Biographical Study     299
Preparation for College     300
What You Can Do for Dominant Nonconforming Children     305
What You Can Do as Parents     307
Reversing Early Childhood Dominance     307
Wish, Want, Work, Wait     311
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder     312
Avoiding Confrontations     315
Emotional Ups and Downs     319
Encouraging Time Alone     326
Maintaining the Positive     326
United Parenting     330
Communicating about Achievement     332
Communicating with Schools     334
Changing Peer Environments     336
Getting Professional Help     338
What You Can Do as a Teacher     339
Forming a Teacher-Student Alliance     339
Behavior Problems and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder     341
Anti-Arguing Instructions     345
Giving Them Power and an Audience     347
Avoiding Student Manipulation     349
Changing Academic Grouping     351
Providing a Sanctuary     352
Helping Students Find Balance     354
Appealing to Altruism     354
Alcohol and Drug Abuse     355
Maintaining Open Doors     356
Overview     357
The Why     357
Essential Elements of Underachievement Syndrome     357
Social Changes     362
Interaction between Underachievement Factors and Social Changes     364
The What     365
Rimm's Laws of Achievement     366
Reversal of an Epidemic?     370
Resources     371
References     373
Endnotes     377
Index     381
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