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Didier Pleux

Room for Improvement

“Room for improvement”, “Lacks discipline”, “Clever but doesn’t pay attention”... How should parents react to such school reports, which indicate that their child could do much better if only he or she tried harder? Should they be strict or lenient? Should they enrol their child in remedial courses, find another school, or take their child to a psychotherapist? How can they tell if a child is gifted but bored or academically unsuited?

Didier Pleux suggests many novel, unusual solutions for parents faced with the disturbing problem of a child who fears school, or may be simply lacking in academic motivation. According to the author, such a child does not necessarily have emotional problems, and the school, however imperfect, is not responsible for his or her lack of motivation. Instead, he says, the child could be taught to like school more simply by understanding the purpose it serves. He or she could be helped to assimilate the constraints of school in order to learn to accept its reality.

This book offers advice to parents and gives them the tools with which to motivate their children academically while allaying their anxieties about school. It shows parents how to help their children develop a sense of self-worth and fulfil their potential.

Didier Pleux is a clinical psychologist and the director of the French Institute of Cognitive Therapy.