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Practical Application: Managing Learned Helplessness in Children

Instructor: Tara Schofield
You want to find ways to motivate students who are struggling to show responsibility in your class. They exhibit learned helplessness and you want to encourage them to be more confident and self-reliant. Use the questions in this application to handle this situation.

The Challenge of Learned Helplessness

As a teacher, you'll encounter students who are capable but struggle to meet or exceed expectations in your classroom. As explained in the lesson, Learned Helplessness in Children: Definition, there are reasons for learned helplessness. Your challenge is to develop a plan to help your students overcome this problem and take responsibility for their learning.

Identifying Learned Helplessness

Let's imagine that you teach a third-grade class of students of varying learning levels. You've become concerned about Lucy, a fun and happy girl who struggles to take care of her books and supplies. She also has difficulty completing her in-class work and tests in a timely manner. In the absence of a learning or physical disability, you believe Lucy has the capacity to be an excellent student but need to understand what is holding her back.

Here are some questions to help you understand what is happening with Lucy:

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