EXPERT VOICE: Talk to your child about repeating a class

My child was asked to repeat a class but she says she cannot go back to that school. Personally I don’t want her to change school. Will it affect her if I force her to stay in the same school? Timothy

My child was asked to repeat a class but she says she cannot go back to that school. Personally I don’t want her to change school. Will it affect her if I force her to stay in the same school?

Timothy

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Joyce Kirabo

Grade retention is a very difficult and emotionally charged decision. It may be considered when a child fails to reach performance levels expected for promotion to the next grade or when a child has significant struggles making progress in reading, writing or maths. Grade retention has become a source of great debate because it has been completely discredited as it doesn’t help the kids (who are held back) and yet schools continue to do it.

Research by the National Association of School Psychologists in 2003 established that “retaining a child in early primary school reduces his or her odds of high school completion by about 60 percent in propensity score matching and sibling fixed-effects models.” Speak with your child’s school about this showing them why you’re concerned.

In my opinion, the idea of giving a child another year to “catch-up” and develop needed skills sounds like a positive alternative. However, the outcome of kids who are retained usually is not positive.

Retention often is associated with increased behaviour problems and has a negative impact on all areas of a child’s achievement like socio-emotional adjustment peer relationships, self-esteem, problem behaviours and attendance. In fact, grade retention is one of the most powerful predictors of high school dropout.

There are much more effective ways to help the child blossom academically. No matter how you try to explain it to him, holding him back in the same class will give the message that he is not as smart as other classmates. Of course, promoting your child to the next level without giving extra assistance would also be a mistake, so you will have to commit to giving that extra help.

In fact, I think you and the teacher both see that this child is capable of thriving and excelling if he gets the special attention needed. Intervening now with some focused tutoring at home and at school can boost your child’s self esteem, whereas holding him back could damage it. Good luck with this very difficult decision.

The writer is a counsellor

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YOUR ADVICE

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Jerome Kabangira
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Martin Mutaka

Jerome Kabangira    

Your child needs to be helped and the first person to do that is you — the parent. Take her back to that school and ensure that you get her a teacher to always monitor her progress. Changing school in itself may not be the solution.

Martin Mutaka      

First know the reason why your child doesn’t want to go back to that school. You might even find that they were not asked to repeat a class. The truth will help you find a permanent solution.

 

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Joan Mutesi
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Aisha Mbabazi

Joan Mutesi        

Make your child understand that much as she has rights, she must listen to you. Tell her a parent’s advice usually turns out to be the best. So she should not change school.

Aisha Mbabazi  

Allow your daughter to suggest the school she wants to go to before blocking her decision. If the school does not meet your expectations, then you can convince her to stay where she is. The best thing is to talk over it with her.

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