A major problem affecting your student’s learning potential and true intelligence is the inability to transition (stay focused) from one school lesson to the next. Include developmental differences (maturity), learning styles/multiple intelligence, skill or ability, home environment (boundaries) and failure to transition from one subject or activity to another effectively can be a major reason for school failure.
During any school day, your child will be challenged and expected to change swiftly from one lesson to the next. Some transitions are short and mercurial, like lining up for recess. Others, such as changing from one subject to the next — art to math or language arts to science — is more difficult because different parts of the student’s brain are being asked to function dutifully. Students who can make fluid transitions will have the advantage to use a greater part of their brain. In other words, when the transition is accepted emotionally by the brain’s thalamus, the hippocampus stimulates greater memory consolidation, which primes the child’s brain for greater learning. Children who fail to make transitions are redirected by the teacher and if the student affects the transition they are reprimanded, which can move the experience to the amygdala and fight or flight and less brain potential. It is this latter group we should be most concerned with.
A key factor for many students who struggle with transitions can be their inability to mentally sequence be it time, activity and even physiologally (visual, auditory, etc). Children who have difficulties with transitions often are those children who see the world as whole to part and are often visual learners. When placed in a school environment They invarilby have difficulties sequencing and may appear as someone who is oppostitional and even ADHD. Instead, I believe that it is how they sequencing actions and time which may be the problem and which is why teachers and parents need to make transitonaing a priority in the child’ life.
Another type of learner or intelligence who may have problems transitions is the kenesthetic child who often is diagnosed as ADHD or ADD when in reality what is causing transitional problems is their need use their bodies to express their intelligence. Such children, whether visual or kensetic, often can become so engrossed in an acitivty that no matter how many times the teacher tries to redirect them to another activity their bodies or brains can’t give it up. In other words, the longer it takes them engage in an activity is directly related to how long it might take them to disengage. It is a Catch 22.
Another child with problems are those children who come from homes who should have no problems with transitions but are those who come from homes with inconsistent schedules, boundaries as well as transitions.
Again, schools should make transitioning a priority for teachers and for parents as well beginning in preschool. Those students who consistently display transitional difficulties should have the opportunity to meet with a behavior specialist to help with the home environment.
A child who is still demonstrating an inability by second grade would continue to have problems and could become th 50% student populaiton we call dropouts.