ERIC Number: ED419625
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-May
Failure Syndrome Students. ERIC Digest.
Students exhibiting failure syndrome approach assignments with low expectations of success and tend to give up at early signs of difficulty. This Digest delineates the nature of failure syndrome, suggests strategies for coping with failure syndrome students, and discusses how teachers can help. Some students, especially in the early grades, show failure syndrome tendencies as part of larger patterns of emotional immaturity. Most symptoms of failure syndrome, however, develop through social learning mechanisms centered around experiences with failure. Failure syndrome students need assistance in regaining self-confidence in their academic abilities and in developing strategies for coping with failure and persisting with problem-solving efforts when they experience difficulties. Many teachers use cognitive retraining strategies with these students such as attribution training, efficacy training, and strategy training. Research has found that other strategies teachers employ to help failure syndrome students include: encouragement and shaping strategies in responding to students, engaging in supportive behaviors, providing reassurance, and making personal appeals to the student to improve performance. More effective teachers appeared to place greater emphasis on insisting on better effort and seemed to have greater confidence that the improvements the student could achieve would be stable over time. Researchers have argued that students who developed an "entity" view of ability (seeing ability as fixed and limited) can benefit from direct training designed to shift them to an "incremental" view (seeing ability as something that can be developed through practice). Teacher behaviors that encourage incremental views of ability include: acting more as resource persons than as judges, focusing students more on learning processes than on outcomes, reacting to errors as natural and useful parts of the learning process rather than as evidence of failure, stressing effort over ability and personal standards over normative standards when giving feedback, and attempting to stimulate achievement efforts through intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivational strategies. (LPP)
Descriptors: Academic Failure, Achievement, Attribution Theory, Behavior Modification, Change Strategies, Cognitive Restructuring, Cognitive Structures, Expectation, Failure, Goal Orientation, Helplessness, Intervention, Low Achievement, Motivation, Personality Traits, Psychological Patterns, Self Concept, Self Efficacy, Student Improvement, Teaching Methods, Underachievement
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Champaign, IL.