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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Nov 16, 2021

Many adolescents experience the phenomenon of The Disintegrating Student. It is often described to me by parents and colleagues alike. These students have always done well in school with very little effort but then their grades start to decline as work piles up. This ultimately leads to increased anxiety and impacts a child’s self-worth. These bright students are still bright, but as today’s guest explains, they’ve hit a rigor tipping point and they don’t have the skills to deal with challenges by asking for help.

Today’s guest is Dr. Jeannine Jannot, author of The Disintegrating Student: Struggling but Smart and Falling Apart… and How to Turn it Around. She is passionate about helping students and young adults be productive and well, in both school and life. As a mother of three, she has witnessed first-hand the challenges our children face, quickly becoming a familiar pattern of good students falling apart. Today, with escalating numbers of students failing their virtual classes during the pandemic, disintegrating students have become a nationwide crisis. The good news is, something can be done to help these adolescents develop a growth mindset and redefine success. Our achievement-focused culture is certainly exposed now and change will be slow and gradual, but as parents, there are ways we can help The Disintegrating Student.


Show Notes:

[1:39] - Welcome to the show, Dr. Jannot!

[2:36] - The Disintegrating Student is a term that Dr. Jannot coined.

[3:30] - Dr. Jannot was seeing many students in academic coaching and noticed that children and adolescents were hitting a rigor tipping point.

[4:32] - These students in their early years breeze through school with ease until they hit the rigor tipping point and don’t have the skills to deal with challenges.

[5:47] - Not handing in work is a red flag. Dr. Jannot describes what the child and parent may think is happening.

[7:26] - The Disintegrating Student worries about no longer “being smart” and that their parents care more about their grades than them.

[9:32] - There are a lot of gifted students with ADHD that get to a point where they are less able to compensate for weaker skills.

[11:11] - What are some skills that The Disintegrating Student needs support with?

[12:09] - Changing a limited mindset to a growth mindset is key.

[14:54] - Parents can help by helping less. Dr. Jannot explains what she means by this.

[16:13] - Our parenting is greatly impacted by our achievement focused culture.

[17:55] - In some cases, we do too much to help and it sends the message that they are not able to do things themselves.

[19:59] - Praise the process rather than the outcome.

[21:46] - Listen for curiosity and empathy instead of jumping to solving a problem.

[23:03] - The achievement culture has been exposed in a big way due to remote learning.

[25:00] - Dr. Jannot describes what she has seen in students as they have returned to school after the COVID-19 school closures.

[26:09] - Our current definition of success are data points. We need to redefine success and normalize making mistakes.

[28:38] - Honest conversations are the way forward and being able to ask questions.

[30:40] - You can find out more about Dr. Jeannine Jannot and purchase her book on her website.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Jeannine Jannot has more than twenty-five years of experience working with children, teenagers, and young adults in both public and private school settings spanning preschool through college. She holds a master's degree in school psychology from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in child and developmental psychology from the University of Connecticut. Since 2010, she has been a college instructor teaching psychology courses and freshman seminars. In 2014, Dr. Jannot founded The Balanced Student in response to the struggling students she encountered, both in her college classrooms and in her own home. In her book The Disintegrating Student: Struggling but Smart and Falling Apart… and How to Turn it Around, Dr. Jannot explains the phenomenon of the smart-turned-struggling student from the viewpoints of both the parent and the student. 


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.