In life, expectations can be a fuelling force to do better – or it can also hurt. With students in the Integrated Programme widely regarded as ‘smart’, ‘bright’, ‘intelligent’, and ‘talented’, there is a huge pressure for these young teens to live up to expectations. However, what if they don’t?
The truth is, not every child who gets good grades will thrive under the pressure-cooker and hyper-competitive environment of the IP school system. And some of these kids are very intelligent, but they falter because of the load of other commitments and activities that they are expected to take part in.
If you have a child in the Integrated Programme and you think they are not doing well academically, don’t lose hope. There are still things you can do and ways you can encourage them to pick up the slack. Here’s how:
1. Figure out why
Try to pinpoint the root of why your child is not doing as well as expected. Is the subject material too difficult? Is it due to a lack of time to study? Is it because of a lack of interest and motivation?
When you know the actual reason, you can then take the right steps to help them. Otherwise, you may be just adding to their stress or causing your teen to feel like you don’t understand their needs.
Approach the subject gently and talk to your teen with the intention to help and not scold them. Assure them that they are not in trouble, and be patient as you work it out with them – as they might not even know what is causing their poor performance.
2. Balance priorities
IP students are often overloaded with commitments. Besides being expected to be good at their studies, they are encouraged to join talent programmes, be active in their CCAs, take on service learning projects, and so on. For their academic subjects, too, IP students have more projects and independent work to do, because of the focus on self-directed learning in the Integrated Programme.
If all these commitments are what’s taking a toll on your child’s studies, it’s time to get them to re-evaluate their priorities. How can they allocate their time better? Is there any commitments they can drop?
3. Engage a specialist tutor
For students who struggle because of difficult subject content, getting a tutor to help them is the most straightforward solution. Despite being in what people consider to be ‘good’ schools, the issue is that school teachers simply cannot afford the time to make sure that every single student is able to follow in class. Future Academy’s small group setting allows students to have ample consultation time with their tutor, and let them feel less intimidated to ask questions and clarify their doubts.
Also, you can’t just engage any tutor for your child who’s studying in IP. The IP syllabus contains distinct differences that mainstream O Level tutors will not cover. So, your child in the IP will benefit most from a specialist IP tutor such as an IP Math tutor. While there is no fixed qualification for what makes an IP tutor, at Future Academy we gather the experiences of our tutors who have taught in IP schools before, are alumni of the IP themselves, or who have years of tutoring IP students under their belt. We conduct IP classes separate from O level classes to cater to the specific needs of each group of students.
4. Set goals and rewards
Have an unmotivated teen? Maybe they are not really seeing the relevance of what they are studying, or they are not interested in the subjects. The solution to this is to find ways to motivated them or ignite their interest for studying. Try creating short-term motivation by promising your teen a reward for sticking to their study schedule, or talk to them about setting goals for their end-of-year results, or even what future pathways they want to reach.
Once they have their ‘why’ for studying, they are more likely to put in the serious work to achieve what they want. Write down their goals, targets, and rewards so that they have a constant reminder to work towards them.
5. Assure them of their worth
Some IP students feel very demoralised when they meet so many other talented and intelligent peers. Students who used to top their class in primary school may suddenly be just average or at the bottom of their class – simply because everyone else are also very capable. This can cause some students to lose their sense of worth and feel like they are never good enough. In some cases, they may lose their drive to study and give up on trying altogether.
If your teen falls into this category, your role is to assure them! Your words have the power to re-align their perspective. Remind them that they are in this programme because they have the ability. It’s normal not to always be at the top anymore but that doesn’t mean they have become less capable or intelligent!
Help your child find their footing in the IP
There’s no doubt that the IP is a challenging programme. It is rigorous and sets high expectations for students to do well. As parents, providing the right support for your child is important in this time so that they don’t lose confidence and motivation.
If you find it difficult to do it all by yourself, choosing the right tutor such as a IP Chemistry tutor for your child is also a great way to keep your child motivated and confident. Good teachers or tutors have the ability to make students go from hating a subject to loving it, whether it’s through more hands-on activities, putting more emphasis on real-life applications, or simply conducting lessons with a sense of humour.
Our experienced tutors can also provide tips on how to save time while studying, imparting efficient study tricks as well as insider knowledge on what examiners are looking for in the exams. By just investing 2 hours per subject every week, our students are actually saving time by fast-tracking their studies through well-prepared summary sheets, targeted practices, and expert guidance.
You don’t have to let your child walk in the IP route alone. Contact us today to schedule your lesson slot.