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School Success

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School SuccessAs new articles pop up every day about what is needed for school success, I tend to look at school success from a coaching perspective.

In coaching my clients, I use Appreciative Inquiry techniques.  Appreciative Inquiry is an organizational methodology that studies what gives life to human systems when they are at their best. The technique was developed by David Coorperider and Suresh Srivastava at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio USA.  The process consists of a 4-D cycle: Discover, Dream, Design, and Destiny.

Discover is the identification of what processes work well.

Dream is the envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.

Design is the planning and prioritizing of the processes that would well.

Destiny is the implementation of the processes.

If I apply Appreciative Inquiry and the 4-D’s to school success, I will first discover what is working well for my child. I will inquire about successes and tie them to feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment, achievement, and capability.

After this, I move to Dream and inquire from the child what he/she would like to achieve for the academic year.  I would like to tease out a ‘big picture’ idea as well as break down by subject.

Next, comes Design.  Let’s figure out together how you are going to achieve your dream.  We can put together weekly / monthly benchmarks that will lead to what the child would like to gain from this academic year.

Finally in Destiny we can implement what we have discussed and occasionally reflect back to where the child was the previous academic year versus where he / she is now.

Through out the entire cycle, I praise the effort the child takes to achieve his/ her goals for academic success.  By praising the effort and not necessarily the outcome, the child is more likely to learn from setbacks instead of being discouraged.

What I value about approaching school success from an Appreciative Inquiry stance is that I enter without judgment, I ask questions of the child out of curiosity, and most importantly, the child and I collaborate on what school success looks like and how to get there; i.e. the child takes ownership.

Now for those of you who respond to ‘how to’ lists a few things that have proven to enhance school success are as follows:

1.     Create a homework center; set aside a specific place where you child can do homework.  Make sure that the space is stocked with supplies such as pencils, an eraser, a dictionary, a stapler, a ruler, and some paper.

2.     Make sure your child has had a snack and drink prior to doing homework.

3.     Try and do homework at the same time every day.  It is also a good idea to insure some down time is ‘scheduled’ after homework.

4.     Some children need quiet, but others enjoy and make better use of time while listening to certain types of music. Research shows Baroque music promotes learning and productivity.

5.     Be available. Let your child feel that you are there to support him/her as well as answer questions as needed. Depending on the age of your child, it is not necessary to sit with your child while he/she does homework.  The goal is to work towards independence.

6.     Praise the effort your child has put into the assignment. Many studies of shown praising effort leads to resilience and a belief that with hard work tasks can be accomplished.  (Yes, I know this was mentioned above as well.  It is important enough to mention twice.)

To sum up from a coaching perspective, keep in mind the following from Deepak Chopra.

The earlier someone is taught how to live in the most effortless, harmonious, and creative way, the more likely it is that all of life will bring success.

About the Author: Nita has lived in Holland and India and currently resides in Seattle, WA USA. She is a PCI certified parent coach. To contact Nita or find out more about her please visit

School Success