Rarely does a learner write an exam to fail so it is important to be mindful of what you say to a child after an exam
Examinations are a significant part of a student’s life, and results often play a pivotal role in shaping their future.
However, it’s essential to approach the topic with sensitivity, especially when a child hasn’t performed as expected.
Rather than focusing on the negatives, guardians can provide support, encouragement, and guidance to help the child navigate through the situation.
Below are ten things not to say to a child who has not performed well in national examinations, such as the KCSE.
Avoid blaming the child for their performance. Statements like, ‘You didn’t study hard enough,’ or ‘You should have done better’ can be disheartening and counterproductive. Instead, focus on constructive feedback.
Don’t undermine their efforts
Rarely does a learner write an exam with the aim of failling. Refrain from belittling the child’s efforts. Acknowledge the effort they put in and offer support for improvement.
Steer clear of negative labels
Avoid labelling the child based on exam results. Negative terms like ‘failure’ or “academic duarf’ can have lasting effects on their self-image.
Emphasise that everyone faces challenges and that this setback is an opportunity to grow and even do better.
Comparisons are a thief of joy and they can be demoralizing. Saying, ‘Why didnt you perform like your friend?’ undermines the child’s unique abilities and can breed resentment.
Focus on their strengths and areas for improvement.
Refrain from implying limited opportunities
Avoid statements like, ‘Your future is ruined’ or ‘You won’t achieve anything.’
Encourage the child to see exams as a part of a broader learning experience, and that that the future holds more than what lies in their grades.
Don’t predict a dull future
Steer clear of predicting a dull future based on exam results. Instead, help the child set realistic goals and develop an improvement plan. Positivity and encouragement can go a long way.
Avoid putting pressure on the child
Refrain from putting excessive pressure on the child for future exams. Statements like, ‘You must excel next time’ can increase anxiety. Emphasize the importance of learning and personal growth.
Don’t minimize feelings
Avoid downplaying the child’s feelings. Saying, ‘It’s just an exam’ may trivialize their emotions.
Acknowledge their disappointment and provide a safe space for them to express their feelings.
Refrain from comparisons with siblings
There is comparison and there is comparison to siblings. Comparing the child’s performance with siblings can create tension within the family.
Each child is unique, and success should be measured individually. Encourage cooperation and support among siblings.
Don’t dismiss their dreams
Avoid dismissing the child’s aspirations based on exam results. Instead, discuss their passions, interests, and long-term goals. Help them understand that setbacks are temporary, and that they can still pursue their dreams.