Children who fail school need holidays too

CHILDREN who fail school need holidays, say some Spanish teachers.

Parents must realise that they cannot take all the blame for a child’s failing grades, says Communications Secretary of the Independent Teachers’ Union (ANPE) Sonia Garcia Gomez. If a child must sit remedial exams at the end of the summer, punishing the whole family by cancelling the long-awaited holidays may not be the ideal thing to do though.

Children must be taught to be responsible and the key lies in studying without being unmotivated, said Gomez. However, summer is long and it is important to adequately manage study hours while having fun with the rest of the family, she added.

Studies show that children need to stick to a reasonable schedule, with 15 minutes of daily uninterrupted study for children aged six-eight, between 30 and 40 minutes for students aged 8-10 and between an hour and an hour and a half if older. “It is crucial to take five or 10-minute breaks for every hour of study,” said Gomez, lest the child gets bored, sleepy and fatigued.

According to ANPE, it is not advisable to start with the most difficult subjects. It is better to start with something easy that interests them and then move on to more challenging content when their attention peaks approximately half an hour later.

Constantly telling a child off for having failed school is a big no-no, warned Gomez. Studying should not be associated with stern reprimands, it is true the child failed to fulfil his or her school responsibilities but constant scolding has never been shown to be an effective motivational technique. In fact, it may backfire and result in feelings of frustration.

On the other hand, ANPE suggests taking away the child’s mobile phone or tablet to keep him or her from getting distracted but says daily rewards are important for motivation. “Let them have a little bit of fun, watch their favourite movie or play with their friends on the street,” advised Gomez. “Failing grades should not be used to punish the child but to teach responsibility. If the child studies, then he or she deserves to enjoy the holidays with the family,” she remarked.

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