According to Ellen Rydell Altermatt and Elizabeth F. Broady:
“Academic difficulties are an important facet of children’s experience. In fact, children report that receiving poor grades and encountering problems with homework are among the most common distressing events in their daily lives (Compas, Malcarne, & Fondacaro, 1988; Greene, 1988; Lewis, Siegel, & Lewis, 1984; Mantzicopoulos, 1997; Schulenberg, Asp, & Petersen, 1984).” (p.454) “Children differ in their responses to these academic difficulties. As early as preschool—and increasingly as children move through elementary school—some children begin to develop maladaptive learned helpless responses to failure (Burhans & Dweck, 1995). When challenged, these children tend to evaluate themselves negatively, blame their failures on a lack of ability, report diminished expectations for future success, and show decreased persistence. In contrast, children exhibiting mastery-oriented approaches to challenge tend to attribute their failures to factors within their control (e.g., insufficient effort), maintain positive expectations for future success, and persist in the face of failure (Diener & Dweck, 1978; Dweck, 1986; Dweck, 2002; Kamins & Dweck, 1999; Ziegert, Kistner, Castro, & Robertson, 2001). Considerable research has sought to examine the precursors of learned helpless responses to failure. Much of this work has focused on examining how children’s interactions with adults influence children’s coping styles (Wigfield, Eccles, Schiefele, Roeser, & Davis-Kean, 2006). This work indicates that the types of praise and criticism children receive from adults following failure predict children’s responses to academic challenge (e.g., Kamins & Dweck, 1999). The effects of other types of social interactions— including the provision of help and emotional support—have been less well studied.” (p.455)
“…friends can help children to cope effectively with failure by providing assistance and social support. Teachers may play an important role in this process by attending to the classroom climates they create. Prior research has shown, for example, that students are more likely to ask for help when teachers emphasize that learning from mistakes is an important part of the educational process and students feel that they are a part of a caring, supportive, and friendly social community (see Ryan, Gheen, & Midgley, 1998; Wigfield et al., 2006).” (p.482)
Ref: Ellen Rydell Altermatt and Elizabeth F. Broady (2009) ‘Coping with Achievement-Related Failure: An Examination of Conversations between Friends’ Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Volume 55, Number 4, October 2009, pp.454-487
Abstract: “Prior research has identified ways in which parents and teachers contribute to learned helpless responses to failure, but little is known about the role that interactions with peers might play. In this study, the conversations of fourth- through sixth- grade children and their friends were observed after children experienced an achievement-related failure. Changes in children’s responses to failure from postfailure to postdiscussion were predicted from the features of these conversations. Children who received frequent help from friends reported fewer maladaptive responses to failure. In contrast, learned helpless responses were predicted when friends engaged in off-task talk, when children discounted their failures, and when children or friends evaluated the task negatively. Sequential analyses were used to better understand these effects and those moderated by gender and relative performance. Using observational methods, this study contributes to our understanding of the processes by which achievement-related beliefs are influenced by peer interactions.” (p.454)
Reference is made to: Ryan, A. M., Gheen, M. H., & Midgley, C. (1998). Why do some students avoid asking for help? An examination of the interplay among students’ academic efficacy, teachers’ social-emotional role, and the classroom goal structure. Journal of Educational Psychology 90, 528–535. AND Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Schiefele, U., Roeser, R. W., & Davis-Kean, P. (2006). Development of achievement motivation. In N. Eisenberg (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (6th ed., pp. 933–1002). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.