My son’s having some trouble with 8th grade Algebra. When I work with him on it, I can see that he knows the material and he can do the calculations . . . his biggest problem is a fatalistic, let’s-get-it-over-with, I’m-no-good-at-math attitude, which leads to careless errors, and frustration if his first approach to a problem doesn’t work.
I encourage him to take a more positive attitude, to go into the next test saying positive things to himself, like “I know this material” and “I can handle these questions.”
What we have here is a classic self-fulfilling prophecy . . .