Usually when you say “homework,” most struggling 8th graders run.   My colleagues, Stacey Clark, Jay Reiter and I were shocked when we heard that 4 of our therapeutic homework club students went to their school administrators and asked if the program could continue until the end of the year.  Typically, our model is a short term program, but when struggling students are self-advocating and motivated to succeed, I guess we had no choice.

These students all had educational roadblock of some sort.  But through the process they were able to learn about their difficulties and were supported in challenging them.  As the process progressed the students had vastly improved grades and significant reduction in academic stress both at school and home.  I would argue, they were given a clear and supported path to change and their true intrinsic motivation was awakened.  More importantly, they experienced a momentum they never thought they had to abilities to sustain.   As Carol Dweck may describe, they discovered they had a “Growth Mindset.”

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

  Carol Dweck

An even greater reward, at the end of the program pizza party, one initially very reserved student said, “I love you guys…..I use to hate teachers, they were always on my back.  Now, I know they are here to help me.  Thanks.”


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