9 Steps for Discovering Gold in the Smart but Struggling Student
I've been accused of being a gold-digger and I’m okay with that.
I think there's nothing more valuable than uncovering the potential in the students we see at The Cognitive Emporium. But like digging for gold, finding and digging up the hidden potential in the smart but struggling student requires a plan.
With almost all cases coming into my office, I'm asked to evaluate a student because there is a problem. Parents come into our meeting with a long list of what is going wrong and the daily obstacles they face in parenting their child.
Such was the case with Jacob. He had been kicked out of two schools. In our first meeting, his dad looked me dead in the eye and asked, “Will my son ever be able to attend a real school?”
That day I began digging for gold in Jacob, applying my usual mining techniques: I listened, observed, and evaluated. Slowly, as we continued cognitive training and continued to dig deeper, the glint of buried potential began to reveal itself in Jacob.
In the end, after we'd finished our work, not only was Jacob able to attend a “real” school, Jacob went on to win the citizenship award within two months of starting his new “real” school. Now, three years later, he continues to thrive at school and in life.
Jacob's story is what happens when my staff and I, together with a child's parents, dig together to discover the hidden treasure buried in the smart but struggling child.
8 Steps to Mining for Buried Potential Gold
The analogy to mining works well to describe how our programs here at The Cognitive Emporium work. In fact, I think the steps involved in gold mining are very similar to the steps I take in working with kids. I also think it's an easy way clarify our process better for parents and teachers. So, below, using the analogy I've provided an outline of how we progress through the stages required for finding a student's buried potential below.
1. Find Deposits:
The first step is talking to parents on the phone to determine if we can help.
2. Analyze Promising Areas:
Next, I listen to what is causing the struggle.
3. Test the Samples:
I schedule an evaluation to test the child’s abilities and identifying their cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
4. Identify the Type of Mine:
Once the evaluation process is complete, I determine what areas need to be strengthened and the best way to create a cognitive balance for optimal academic transformation.
5. Building the Infrastructure:
I create a customized plan unique to the student and the family's lifestyle.
6. Mining and Refining the Process:
This is where the work and the data happens. How is the student responding to the recommended plan? If we need to change anything or add anything, we do it here.
7. Processing On-Site:
When we work with students on-site, the goal is to generalize and transition the skills we develop to off-site situations as quickly as possible.
8. Refining Off-Site:
We never recommend a student leave the intervention until we've gotten the data that lets us know that the student will be successful on their own once the intervention stops.
However, sometimes circumstances make it such that the student has to continue the process elsewhere. In this case, we provide as many resources and recommendations as we can to assist in that transition.
It's important to keep in mind at this stage that expectation is everything. At 99.99% purity, even gold isn't perfect.
Parents have to keep in mind that,no matter how hard they work or what their potential, no child will never achieve 100% change. Expecting they do is unrealistic.
No one is perfect and it's important to keep in mind that progress, not perfection yields the best version of ourselves.
9. Mine Reclamation:
A good gold-digger strives to leave the mine as close to their natural state as possible once they've finished digging. The same is true when we unlock the struggling learner's potential.
Because we approach learning by combining neuroscience and education at The Cognitive Emporium, each student, in their uniqueness, creates their own learning strategies and ways to attack issues.
This is true as it relates to acting from the perspective of a growth mindset: After learned, the skills your child develops during the intervention process will continue to grow once the intervention stops.
Parents are amazed as they watch the transformation unfold, and begin to see the gold that was in their child all along begin to emerge.
When parents and teachers embrace these new ways and trust in the process over time, true gold is found.
While we can take credit for being the catalyst in the transformation, I am quick to remind the parents that the sparkle they begin to see in their child was there all along. It just needed to be uncovered.
Below is a simple, three-step parenting process to help you unlock the potential in your child.
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