What is procrastination?

“Why don’t you just do it!””You waste so much time playing video games!””Do your homework!”It’s so easy for parents and teachers to get down on students who procrastinate – they’ll drive you nuts because it seems so simple: just do your work!Procrastination is an emotional self-regulation struggle, not a moral deficiency.Procrastinators aren’t “lazy,” “distracted,” or “uncaring.” What they suffer from is a deficiency in emotional self-regulation. What we mean by that is that they are not fully in control of their emotional responses to their academic workflow.So the worst thing we can do to a procrastinator is to call him or her “lazy.” That only reinforces the procrastination.Instead, procrastinators need help to overcome the impulse to put off work that is causing them anxiety. Here’s how it works:Facing an “aversive” or unenjoyable or difficult task causes anxiety.To dismiss that anxiety procrastinators  defer the aversive task to later, which relieves themselves of the anxiety.By choosing to do […]

“Have you done your homework?” or what else a parent can do to build student academic independence?

Tired of asking your child about homework?All parents want to support their child’s academics. But they also want to be able to walk away and watch their child manage school on their own.It’s a tricky thing to find that right balance between helicoptering and watching helplessly from the outside. The one risks becoming nagging and backfiring while the other risks missing help that a child really needs.So how to find that balance?Student OwnershipThis term is so often tossed around in education so as to lose meaning. So let’s spell out what we mean by “academic ownership”:awarenessself-advocacyproblem solvingwill powerexecutive functionAwareness means knowing what’s due tomorrow or next, it means knowing the current grades, and, most importantly, it means knowing what is expected of the student by teachers, textbooks and assignments.Self-advocacy means standing up for oneself. It starts with knowing what you need to know or do, and then acting on it by asking for clarification or […]