4 Phrases Teachers Say during Parent’s Meeting: What do they really mean?
How to interpret what teachers say during parent’s meeting?
Parent-teacher meetings carry many messages you might not be aware of. Some of these comments a teacher, or several teachers, may make about your child’s performance at school need to be translated to understand what the core issues are that your child is facing. when these issues are not taken seriously, your child may have difficulties in the coming school years, while when addressed at any early stage, these can be avoided easily
We often hear the sentence, “Your child is smart, but if he could only focus a bit more,” or “Your child is very smart, he just does not fully apply himself.” These sentences usually indicate that your child has many strong cognitive skills, but might be lacking in one or two, making him act in certain ways. These examples might indicate a weakness in attention and concentration. This, of course, can affect other activities and not just academics.
Let us go into more details. When a teacher says “your child is smart but takes a long time to finish a certain task”, or “is one of the last to finish the assigned classwork”. In this case, a weak skill might be behind such phrases. Some of these kids might be perfectionists, but, if it is a frequent occurrence then a cognitive weakness is on hand. This might show that processing speed is an issue, that your child is not able to finish the assigned task in the indicated time and would usually cause long homework sessions at home too!
Sometimes, the phrase might result in some sort of confusion. For example, your child performs well in one test and does not in the one that follows. In this case, teachers say that his work level is fluctuating, and they tend to ask for higher levels of performance. This preference comes from the fact that, since the child managed to get a good result once, he can easily get good grades and at all times. In this case, the child might have different levels of cognitive skills, where some are high levels while others are low! This results in a variation of output depending on the skill used at that exact test.
Is your child not reading up to his grade level? This is usually related to a cognitive weakness in auditory processing, or phonemic awareness. This skill is what is needed from us to unglue, blend, segment and manipulate different sounds. Reading difficulties can be caused by many other weak skills including visual processing, attention, memory, and processing speed.
If these phrases are common during the school year, then your child might need to schedule an assessment to determine which skills are weak and what can be done to help train those skills!