Save the Children has just published a report that places Spain as the country with the highest grade repetition rate in the European Union and in the OECD in Compulsory Secondary Education, with a rate of 8.5% (with the EU averages and OECD below 3%).
The NGO also points out that 29% of students in our country have repeated a course at some time before the age of 15.
And in this latest report, the NGO also denies the alleged benefits of the “culture of repetition”, a harmful practice for students, especially the most vulnerable, which can lead to school dropout or failure.
However, in this article we want to demolish the myths and stereotypes often associated with the profile of the repeater, such as that he is not fit to study, that he is lazy, that he is not going to make any more effort or that he will not return. to study.
We will also talk about how we can address the issue with our children , as parents, if they end up repeating the course, with the aim of accompanying them, motivating them and making them see that they are useless at all . That they are still just as valid and wonderful.
My son repeats the course: how to approach the situation?
If your child has repeated the year, it is likely that they have gone through various emotions, such as shame, guilt, fear… shame because they will be “the oldest” in their new class, guilt for not having passed the year , and fear due to the uncertainty of the situation, for not being able to pass, etc.
In addition, the fact of repeating also impacts their self-esteem and self-concept, and they may feel insecure and worthless in studies. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!
Repeat course: a multifactorial origin
It is clear that if your child has repeated it is for some reason, but not everything has to do with abilities or intelligence ; here other factors also come into play, such as motivation, social relationships at school or institute, the bond with teachers, the life stage in which they find themselves (especially in the case of adolescence), family problems or cheap at home, etc.
In relation to this, this data is important: the Save The Children report highlights that Spain is among the OECD and EU countries where teachers have received less training on teaching in multilevel groups (35%) and where they are perceived as less prepared for it (28%).
We are not saying that this justifies that the boys repeat, but there are data that support that in Spain there are also many things that can be improved in the institutions. Thus, as we can see, there are other factors than the “usual” ones that influence the situation.
A repeater is not useless: how to convey this idea to our children
That is why it is important to approach this situation as it is, complex and with a multifactorial origin.
Not everything can be attributed to our son, and it is important to transmit the following message: that he is just as valid -in all senses- even if he has had to repeat himself, and that we will accompany him so that he can recover his motivation and self-esteem, in addition to to get the course forward and feel fulfilled.
How to deal with the comments of others?
If your child has repeated a course, they have surely had to listen to derogatory or unmotivating comments from other classmates or parents of friends; or even teachers. And surely you have also experienced it in your own skin (for example from nosy parents).
How to approach all this? As children or adolescents, or as parents, it is important to ignore these types of comments . Remember that this is not about “proving” anything to others; not even to justify. Of course, it is also important to learn to set limits when they bother us excessively (for example, “you should not comment on my studies”) and to express what bothers us assertively.
On the other hand, we must accept that others will not always empathize with us (or with our children’s situation), or that they will understand us, and that we do not need it either. Nor do we need to be told that we are valid to believe it.
And, finally, the boys need to strengthen their self-esteem so that these comments do not harm their self -concept, as well as rely on their families, and families need to trust their children and their own resources.
How to accompany them on this new path?
Fights are useless: listen
Nagging is useless; just to make our son feel worse. In this sense, it does not help because it is not a pedagogical practice that accompanies or teaches any learning. So, instead of scolding, why don’t we choose to ask and accompany?
Let’s put ourselves in his shoes and imagine how he feels. Although as parents we are concerned about this situation (which is normal), it is important to think about what could have happened and how our child may feel.
Inquire into the causes; talk to him and his teachers
Knowing the causes of the situation will help you, as a family member, to face the problem. Talk to your child and their teachers . Surely, and if you have been holding meetings with your child’s tutor, you already knew something about the situation. But if not, don’t feel bad for not knowing how to detect the situation.
Talk about how you want to approach the course and what you need
It can also help you, as parents, to talk to your child about how they want to approach this new course. Do you want to continue studying? Are you motivated? Do you want to go 100%? Do you need academic reinforcement, support…? Need help getting organized? You can ask all these questions to define an action plan.
On the other hand, it is also important here to emphasize that you will need a good dose of effort and commitment to face this course, but that we will be by your side to support you.
Let him know that you are still proud of him.
Now more than ever it is important to strengthen your child’s self-esteem. Let him know that, despite having repeated, you are still proud of him.
Remind him of all these things that he does well , and in which he strives and perseveres, both inside and outside the academic field, and that, although studies are important, there are many other things in which he surely stands out and for which he can feel satisfied.
Focus on repeating as an opportunity
Although no one likes to repeat (neither parents nor children), and it is normal to be lazy to do so, or to become demotivated… it can be good to approach this situation as an opportunity to:
- Integrate concepts much better.
- Go more prepared for the next courses.
- Strengthen knowledge you already have.
- take things differently; rethink studies in another way.
- Seek motivation again and learn to also enjoy studying.
seek professional help
In case you think your child needs it, either emotionally or academically, it is important that you can ask for help that suits their needs.
Of course, always agreeing with him on this point beforehand and consulting what he thinks would go well for him. On the other hand, support you a lot at school or institute , with your teachers and tutors. Talk to whoever you consider and strengthen this bond with the professionals to work as a team.
Finally, it is important that your child feels that you trust him. Show him and tell him directly. Let him know that you trust his strengths and his ability to decide what he wants to do now, how he wants to focus it…
Above all, knowing that you are going to be by his side, always supporting him, and that he is still the wonderful boy or girl he always was , that academic grades, although they are important, do not say at all who your child is or what future he or she has. wait.
Repeating is not synonymous with failing. Those who repeat also continue studying afterwards, get careers and get jobs that make them happy; they just need empathy , accompaniment and someone to believe in them .
Photos | Cover (Freepik)