Reading Discussion Group

Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success

 
 
Picture of Jean Gardner
Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success
by Jean Gardner - Tuesday, 23 March 2010, 9:01 AM
 

In your experiences, can affective skills overcome low cognitive skills ?  Think of a student to explain your answer.  OR

How have you retrained the affective domain for success for students you've worked with?

Picture of Laura Prettyman
Re: Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success
by Laura Prettyman - Sunday, 4 April 2010, 12:26 PM
 

Hi, Jean!

I've done some reading about attributional retraining before, and I think it is so interesting. I have tried using it in my classroom, especially when teaching math. (Although this article did say it doesn't work well with math. Hmmmm... I made need to rethink my strategy!)

Often, when I am going over test results with students they say things like, "I just can't do math. I've never been able to do it!" I try to tell students that many ideas in math, especially things like the Pythagorean theorem or many concepts in algebra, would be very, very difficult to figure out if the student hasn't taken any algebra or geometry classes (which is often the case).

I think many students trick themselves into thinking they're not smart enough to pass the GED math test, read at the college level, write an essay, etc. Because they've spent years telling themselves this, they don't even try to do well in these areas, proving themselves right. As a teacher, it's hard to deal with, but I think by using baby steps and giving students a lot of guided instruction and encouragement they can retrain their thinking to be successful.

Picture of Sandy Evensen
Re: Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success
by Sandy Evensen - Wednesday, 7 April 2010, 11:42 AM
 
Well, I think your student, T, is a good example. She is certainly motivated and while learning is difficult for her, she is willing to seek out the extra help she needs and has been successful. The key is motivation like the article says. I also think our START students have had supports in place to show them post-secondary is doable for most of them.
Picture of Tracy Chase
Re: Attributional Retraining: Rethinking Academic Failure to Promote Success
by Tracy Chase - Thursday, 8 April 2010, 8:39 AM
 

Several years ago I had a student who wanted to go to college.  She had met with many failures throughout her life and that "bad" baggage was constantly with her.  I really felt she could be successful in college, but to break past bad habits and ideas was a task that took months.  I started small by recognizing positive behaviors.  For a person who dealt with negatives, this was a huge shift in how she looked at things.  If she would start to get into the "I can't" mode, I would question her of why she felt the way she did.  It was interesting to see the change over several months.  I would praise her on the accomplishments she achieved and would not allow her to dwell on the things that didn't go well.  The idea that "bad" things happen to everyone and how we deal with it makes the difference in who we will become seemed like a novel idea to her.  To make a long story short, she did go to college and was successful in her studies.  However, as I mentioned before, this was not accomplished by one or two discussions.  This did take months.