We all know the Tina Turner song “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” In my work, I’ve changed this foundational question to be, “What’s self-esteem got to do with it?” For a child who struggles to learn, the answer is: EVERYTHING! This is the crucial element of success that learning specialists and academic support teachers know very well; they work every day, and in every way, to create relationships with our students to foster success and belief in themselves.

Fred Rogers said, “A love of learning has a lot to do with learning that we are loved.”  Learning support staff are the rock on which these students stand to spread their wings. We search deep to uncover what the student’s self-limiting story is and create a new narrative that focuses on the student’s successes and strengths, not his or her failures.

We know that these learners benefit from being “shown” not “told” information and strategies. We help them prepare and visualize success. Confidence is the key, alongside explicit teaching and review, to cement concepts students need to move forward in their learning. Achieving success is reliant on their level of self-confidence and resilience.

The 2023 SAIS Academic Support Conference’s keynote session, S.O.A.R: Success Originates Around Resilience, will be a lively and engaging presentation with plenty of tips, techniques, and research-based practices to put in place right away to support our struggling learners.

Registration is now open for the 2023 SAIS Academic Support Conference, to be held February 5-7 in Nashville. Join Peggy and many other experts in the field to network and discover practical solutions and strategies to foster student success. See the full schedule, including sessions on executive function, neurodiversity, assistive technology, and multi-sensory learning. This conference is designed for those who offer academic support in independent schools. Classroom teachers, learning specialists, and directors of academic support are all invited to learn together about the latest research, curriculum, instructional strategies, and best practices for supporting all learners.

  • Academic Support

Peggy Campbell-Rush is currently a U.S. Fulbright Education Specialist and a retired head of lower school at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL. Peggy has taught primary grades and has been an administrator for more than 47 years in both the United States and England. Peggy has sailed around the world twice studying global education. She has been honored as a Fulbright Fellow, two-time National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee, USA Today All-American Teacher Team member, two-time New Jersey Teacher of the Year finalist, and two-time Wal-Mart Teacher of Year. Peggy is the author of seven professional books: I Teach Kindergarten: A Treasure Chest of Teaching Wisdom; Tricks of the Trade: In & Out of the Classroom; Success for Struggling LearnersHip-Hop Alphabop; Group Writing: How Writing Teaches Reading; Reading, Writing and Word Walls; and Ready to Write.