Erasing Failure with School-Based Prevention Programs
Academic failure is more than an educational problem. Failure in the classroom is also a psychological problem, because failure leads to low self-efficacy, behavior problems, and risky health decisions. When children lose the ability to cope with the pressures of the classroom and with peer pressure from friends, they no longer perceive that they have the ability to control their environment or to recover from setbacks, poor grades, or difficult situations in the classroom.
An attitude of failure is cumulative. Children develop an attitude of failure based on their past experiences (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Vittorio Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001) and on their interactions with peers in the classroom (Nazroo, 2003). Once children experience failure (being placed in a low reading group, failing a spelling test, or any other event in which they fall below other children in the classroom), the belief that they will fail brings about low self-efficacy and more failure (Miech, Eaton, & Brennan, 2005). It becomes the responsibility of counselors and psychologists in school-based settings to provide psychological programs and interventions that address the stigmatizing effects of failure before they become developmental, behavioral, or motivational problems.
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