Staff are wise to implement a deliberate plan to change the mental processes of students through frequent eye contact, conversation, notes and body language that convey acceptance, affirmation, confidence and encouragement. To that objective, staff should initiate contacts at school and home at least two weeks prior to test dates in order to change the way students perceive themselves and how they process essential knowledge and skills which exams will measure. An effective approach is to ask questions and make comments designed to stimulate the front lobe of the brain while neutralizing tendency to activate the back lobe of the brain. The front lobe is the seat of inspiration, initiative, creativity, confidence, and curiosity. The back lobe is the seat of anger, fear, depression, and defense mechanisms. Students who operate predominately from the rear lobe are likely to fail exams. Students who operate from the front lobe are more likely to recall the essential knowledge and skills necessary to pass exams.
Educating at-risk teenagers can be a fantastic blessing or a challenge to staff will-power. Tragically, too many schools balk at the idea of offering a non-punitive alternative program. Balking is understandable if the available curriculum requires teachers to use books designed for academic experts. However, educating at-risk youth is pleasant when the school chooses Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. Don’t let the word “Accelerated” scare you. It simply means that the student is allowed to accelerate studies to complete courses as rapidly as desired or as slowly as needed to earn transcript credit.