Five Fatal Study Traits – How to Help Struggling Students

Is your child struggling at school? If the answer is yes, then you have found the right article!  If the answer is no… keep reading as you never know when this issue may raise its ugly head.

It is normal for students to struggle with school work from time to time. Whether it is difficulty understanding a new topic or with time management. Failure results in learning. Learning results in intellectual and self-growth. The problem is when a student doesn’t learn from their failure. This is when unhealthy study traits start growing their roots.

As parents and tutors, it is our job to identify these traits. Once we identify them, then we can start to de-weed. However, in saying that… trait identification is not always an easy thing to do. Luckily, at A Team Tuition we are trained to do just that! Below, is a list of the top five worst traits of struggling students. Once you know the signs, helping struggling students is not as hard as you may thnk.

1) Procrastination

The Procrastinator… the one who will find any excuse to postpone starting their work. Procrastination can be anything from cleaning to watching just one more episode on Netflix. Let’s be honest… we all do it at some point. However, procrastination becomes dangerous, when it is done despite the negative consequences.

If a student procrastinates it will likely result in:

  • Unfinished homework
  • Starting an assignment at the last minute
  • Staying up late at night to finish work
  • Cramming for exams
  • High levels of stress
  • Poor results

Does any of this sound familiar? If yes, then don’t stress!

Here are some fantastic tips on how to help students struggling with the problematic procrastination cycle…

  • Show the student that you support and believe in them. This will give them the confidence to approach the task at hand.
  • Help the student with their time-management skills and encourage early preparation.
  • Ensure the student studies in a quiet area, without any distractions. This will reduce opportunities to procrastinate and enhance productivity.
  • Implement A Team Tuition’s tutoring services. Our tutors provide mentorship and work side by side with students to ensure early assessment preparation. This also allows students to develop time-management skills that will last a lifetime.

Remember… don’t procrastinate, dominate!

2) Is your student struggling by being easily distracted by social media, TV and the surrounding environment

In this day and age, students are surrounded by an ocean of technology. From laptops to phones to iPads… social media, the internet, and television is just one swipe away.

It is undeniable that technology has great prospects for a fantastic study tool. However, it can become a serious problem when that beautiful, beckoning, blue screen becomes an irresistible distraction! Today, this virtual trap is the leading founder of unproductivity.

Does your child do their schoolwork in front of the TV? Do they have their phone next to them whilst studying? Do they consistently not complete any work during designated study time?

If the answer is yes, then here are some great strategies to ‘unfriend’ that horrible habit and help your struggling student:

  • Remove all electronics during designated study time.
  • If the internet is needed for tasks, provide increased supervision or use settings to block access to social media apps.
  • Encourage work to be completed in a quiet study area without any distractions.
  • Implement A Team Tuition’s tutoring services. We know how important it is for our students to study in a quiet, relaxed and distraction-free environment. Tutors work one on one with students to ensure constant engagement and task completion.

Turn that phone off and get to work! You’ll be thankful for it later!

3) Lack of time management

24 hours. 1440 Minutes. 86400 seconds. Still, there never seems to be enough time to get things done in the day.

Time management is a skill that everyone needs. It is the process of planning out and controlling the time spent on tasks to increase productivity. As adults, there’s a lot to get done… from kids to work, cooking to cleaning, driving to staying fit and healthy… I could go on and on.

Well for kids, this skill is first developed in school. They must learn to juggle school work, tutoring sessions, family, friends, sport, and other extra-curricular activities. This workload only increases as they trudge their way up through the school years. As children progress through the grades they take on more and more, but many know how to help when students struggle with managing their time.

If these skills are not developed, students can become overwhelmed and suffer academically. Signs that a student is lacking time management skills include:

  • Leaving schoolwork unfinished
  • Staying up late at night to finish school work
  • Cramming for exams
  • Failing to proofread assignments
  • High levels of stress

So… how do struggling students improve their time-management skills?

At A Team Tuition, we have a series of tested time management strategies that are implemented in tutoring sessions. We believe that how we can help struggling students is to help set them up for life-long success. Some basic techniques we have found effective are:

  • Keep a diary with a detailed schedule and stick to it.
  • Utilise study breaks as encouragement for productivity.
  • Display a calendar on a wall in the study area.

However, there is nothing more effective than having a personal cheerleader to motivate you on the sidelines! At A Team Tuition, our tutoring services provide additional support to students that need a bit extra help sticking to their time management plan.

Remember it will take time, support and determination to master the art of time management!

4) Lack of goal setting

Every year we all set new year resolutions. Some of us keep it for a week, a month or maybe even for the whole year. But let’s be realistic… not many people succeed at achieving these goals.

But maybe we should all try harder? Setting realistic, timely and achievable goals can have fantastic benefits. It increases efficiency, focus, and productivity.

For kids, goal setting should first be practiced in school. This gives them something to strive and push themselves for. Let’s face it… a student who is putting in the time and effort to achieve an A grade is going to receive a higher result than a student who doesn’t care what grade they get. Signs that students are lacking goal setting skills include:

  • Failure to set any goals throughout the term
  • Doesn’t achieve any set goals
  • Make excuses for failing to meet goals
  • Fails to reflect on previous results

If this sounds like someone you know… to encourage positive goal setting you can:

  • Ask the student to write a list of short-term and long-term goals.
  • Implement different goal strategies (eg. Staircase Goals, Smart Goals, Areas for Change).
  • Utilise reward programs for achieving set goals.
  • Implement A Team Tuition’s tutoring services to provide ongoing support to achieve set goals.

Goal setting will take time to get the hang of, but it is a skill they will use for life.

5) Poor Attendance At School

To most people this seems like pure common sense, right? If a student is not at school, they are not engaged and learning. Obviously, this fails to set a student up for success and will likely result in low academic results.

Poor attendance can also have devasting long-term effects… as most schools have an attendance threshold that students are required to meet. In some cases, chronic poor attendance can affect a student’s ability to proceed to the next school year or even graduate.

Does your child have a poor attendance rate? Are they…

  • Refusing to go to school?
  • Constantly taking sick days without a doctor’s certificate?
  • Failing to meet attendance thresholds?

However, what people don’t often realise is that there is normally an underlying issue to a child’s hesitancy of going to school. This may be anything from a lack of confidence to instances of bullying.

But no matter what the issue is, we have some methods to get that attendance rate back up over that green line:

  • Emphasise the importance and benefits of school attendance to the student.
  • Build rapport with the student, so that they will tell you any underlying issues.
  • Meet with your child’s school principal or teacher about reasons for their poor attendance.
  • Parents should be authoritative and enforce attendance.
  • Set an attendance rule (e.g. No days off without a medical certificate).

Remember, while school may not be the most exciting place on earth, it does have its pros. From seeing friends to a range of diverse classes… there is something exciting for everyone. Make sure to emphasise the positives!

So, there you have it… there are the five fatal traits and how to help struggling students! If your child resembles any of these traits, don’t stress! Just follow these tips and your student should be back on track in no time!


If these issues do persist, please do not hesitate to contact your student’s school. They will have a range of student support resources available. Externally, A Team Tuition’s tutoring services can provide additional support that is individualised to your student’s needs.