Yesterday was YoungMan’s parent teacher evening. As his second cousin is staying at the moment, we asked her if she would mind keeping an eye on him while we spoke to three of YoungMan’s teachers.
Foggy, of course, sees them all on a daily basis and hears snippets from time to time. For me, it was the first time I had met the teacher who has YoungMan for his core subjects ie English, Maths and Science. Ironically, given the first topic, said teacher is Italian.
Maestro genuinely likes the cheeky little wretch and is clearly enjoying teaching YoungMan, so this is a good start… His main point to us was on the topic of assessments and how YoungMan had suffered exam stress to the point of getting only 20% as a grade in one subject… and when given the same sort of task in class the following day, when it didn’t matter, scored 100%.
Soooo, what’s causing it and what is the solution? Maestro’s theory is that YoungMan is desperately keen to please (which is part of what makes him charming on a regular basis) but in a formal exam setting, he is not getting the instant feedback as to whether an adult is pleased with him or not, so he becomes paralysed by choice, and that anxiety feeds into him making the wrong choice.
His suggestion for how to counter it - and Maestro was rather emphatic on the topic - was that we must give YoungMan lots of praise and reassurance that we know that he is clever, and capable, and remind him that we hear from his teachers on a regular basis that he is doing well in class, therefore Foggy and I are proud of him and pleased with his achievements.
Today, we had a golden opportunity to do just that: YoungMan has been selected for the Gifted and Talented extra-curricular ICT class, which is by invitation only and held on a Monday afternoon after school for the rest of the year.
I told him about the invitation in the car on the way home and we all talked about it over dinner, pointing out in the clearest terms that it was a compliment reflecting YoungMan’s ability and enthusiasm, and that we thought it right and fair that he’d been included in the Gifted and Talented program. I shall keep you informed (once I find out what it is!!) of the project in question, because I am sure ITGirl and ComputerGenius, amongst others, will want to know.