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How do you Help a Student who is Struggling Academically?

Student life is the most interesting phase in every individual’s life. It is the time when maximum learning occurs and we get prepared to face the world. One gets to know different people, get a chance to learn from teachers with varied backgrounds and teaching experience, gets exposure to competitions and moral learning in life.

Academics are important too along with extracurricular activities. They help to understand different subjects. English is the most spoken language in the world and knowing its basics will help to be comfortable with it. It will also help in interacting with people around the world. Social science helps to know the society and the political system of the country.

As a responsible citizen it is important to be aware of it and actively participate. The participation will ensure a good future for coming generations. Science helps to connect with reality. Various phenomena like earthquake, global warming, the impact of deforestation, pollution, chemical changes occur in nature, availability of different minerals and salt in earth crust and in sea, formation and extinction of species, flora and fauna and many more which helps to develop an understanding about our planet. It helps to come close to Mother Nature and contributes to logical thinking.

Mathematics helps to relate facts and develops the analytical power of the brain. It helps to distinguish distance and dimensions. Roshan who works with TopAssignmentExperts says that similarly, the school curriculum which is designed according to age and general capability of students consists of various other subjects which are included to give exposure about new trends and patterns in the world.

It helps to develop the opinion and interest of the student for his future career choice. The school, society and family are other modes which contribute in effective learning and personality development of a child.

It is also a fact that no child is the same in strength, mental capabilities and learning needs. Some are geniuses, some are intelligent, some are average and some need more attention. It is important to understand a child and guide him in academics. One cannot expect the same level of performance from all of them.

When as a teacher or parent you feel that your child is not up to the mark in academics instead scolding them hard, try to find out the reasons. You should not be in a hurry to jump to the conclusions and blame them for not studying. The reasons can be:

Stress

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Students are feeling stressed due to pressure of performance created by parents to get good marks. They are made to put hours in study beyond their capacity. This leads to loss of interest and irritating behavior.

Clarity of doubts

Some students, who are introverted in nature, feel hesitant in asking their doubts. This again is a cause of accumulation of clarity issues with the topic and eventually with the subject. Tara who is a teacher by passion and a writer by profession in EduWorldUSA believes that such makes students hate the subject and he tries to escape from studying it. They make new and different excuses every time for not doing their work.

Time management

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When managing time is a challenge due to over inclination towards other activities which disturbs the balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Laziness is another concern which is wasting time in over sleeping, postponing things for the future and wasting time in day dreaming. Too much involvement in attending various courses will also hamper the interest in studies as at the end of the day no time left for academics.

Money matters

Though every parent puts their best efforts in getting their child educated but still due to financial constraints they might feel backward in getting books on time. This also leads to loss of interest in studies in many cases.

Accessibility to resources

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The economic conditions at home disturbed political environment in the state for example: lockdown due to pandemic or terror group attacks, natural calamities like flood, earthquake, avalanche etc disturbs the continuity to school or colleges. Due to this the interest loosens up as required resources like teachers, schools and public libraries are not accessible.

Opportunities

Every child is different and so is their interest and stamina. Some can understand just by reading a line but some need a whole bundle of explanations to solve a question. Some can grasp the concepts well with application but some like theories more as compared to practical questions. Rizvan who always trusts TFTH for getting his assignments done shares that only bright children get more opportunities as people who really want to bring other children in forefront with their efforts are less.

Specific learning needs

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It does not always direct towards mental problems but it can be difficult to understand, dyslexia or dyscalculia. This needs serious attention to get aligned to the mainstream in a normal atmosphere. Hyperactive and hypersensitive students who find it difficult to focus in the classroom have different requirements.

Encouragement

Due to absence of encouragement also students get distracted from studies. The efforts need to be recognized and even the smallest thing needs to be appreciated on a positive note so that they feel like they can do more and perform their best. As a parent and teacher we can relate to this aspect. When we do any task and we get appreciated the feeling and enthusiasm is high and inspires us to do even better.

Comparison

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They impact negatively for some students. You never know how much honest efforts are actually being put in by the student to reach the outcome. He might not have slept the whole night just because he has to perform. At last the comparison demotivates him and he feels better to leave the race. In some case this might end up by taking extreme steps from their side like suicide or landing in severe depression. They show their disinterest by behaving inappropriately during study time or on regular school days. On other days they are completely fine with acceptable behavior patterns.

Looking at these it is required that such students should be handled carefully. There is an urgent need to identify the areas which are pulling them back and provide them with a support system so that they can bloom into beautiful flowers. This can be done by:

Creating small study groups

The foremost important strategy is to create small groups or there should be less number of children with a single teacher, let’s say 15-20 and then they should be taught. It will help in giving due attention to them. The large batch size is difficult to manage and the effective teaching loses its importance. This will give due consideration to their capabilities and the analysis will help to apply remedies to maintain interest in academics.

Integration of skills and academic resources

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The teaching pattern is a new emerging area where new experiments are being done on a regular basis and has witnessed adoption of new technologies which will enhance the experience. This will develop the interest in studies. For example, listening skills, reading skills, role play methods, problem solving skills should be merged with the curriculum so that different exercises will bring the enthusiasm back.

Comfort zone

Parents should refrain from spoon feeding to their children and giving undue extra care to them. Until and unless they are pushed from their comfort zone they will not learn to fly. Student life is all about learning new things, exploring the capabilities and developing new skills. They should be exposed to lessons and encouraged to find solutions. This will also help them to develop required life skills.

Life Skills

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This is a comparatively new area which needs to be a mandatory part of school and university curriculum. Students should be taught to manage stress and pressure. They should be made to understand to keep their calm and maintain the balance of emotions. Life skills also relate to action response series which come into picture during a case of emergency. For example there is a fire emergency in the room. The response to escape that situation comes under life skills.

Prioritizing time

Many students fail to understand the importance of time. Parents and schools can inculcate this habit of making timetables and following it religiously to make best use of time. This will help them to manage academics and extracurricular activities together. It will make them disciplined and balanced. This can be taught by asking them to write the time required by them to complete a given task. It should be discussed with them and if required can be modified and placed in the timetable. The best way is to set an example in front of them and let them observe. They learn while looking at their elders only.

Dealing with questions

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We all know that children have unending questions in mind which they ask every time. Their curious minds are dealing with nature, studies, sports, music, dance, coding and what not. They feel distracted if their questions are not answered. Thus, it is of utmost importance to answer them with patience and correctly. You can ask them for time and get back to them in case you, yourself is not aware of the answer. This clears the doubts and prepares it to explore more.

Cue them for answers

While asking questions to them, design the exercise in a manner that teacher or instructor gives only cues or hints and let them find the answers. It will give them a sense of achievement and motivate them. The happiness of completing a task on their own has another level of positive impact on these curious minds.

Dealing with special requirements

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The students with special learning needs should be identified and given due care so that they can grow with mainstream students. They should not be distinguished or treated separately as this will lead to inferiority complex in them. It will not allow them to be free and confident; instead it will reduce their potential and make them surrender to adverse situations. Using multi-sensory instructions will help to contribute to learning success. They will feel, hear and try hands-on activities which will enhance their experience and register in their memory.

Direction

As a parent and teacher, it is our duty to give them direction. We should utilize their energy levels in such a way that creates something constructive out of it for the rest of their lives. When the direction is clear they will conquer the skies and bring unexceptional results in front of the world. Their imagination is far more futuristic and they have that power to turn it into reality.

Reviewing

The students’ progress would be monitored regularly. It is not just an assessment. It is a responsibility that we carry on our shoulders which will decide the future of these innocent lives. The review should follow with feedback which when applied is determined to bring positive changes and enlighten the lives.

Teaching a struggling learner can be challenging but believing in oneself and accepting that no child is the same and thus his learning needs can change the perception. The assessment criteria need to undergo a major shift from marks to evaluation of skills and other parameters. It should be more practical and skill based. The subjects chosen for the curriculum should be able to deliver the aim of learning and enhance the learning experience.

Special training should be given to the teaching community to deal with varied and changing learning needs of children. These programs should have mandatory yearly refresher courses to keep up with the changes and technology. They should be made to appear for evaluation of their teaching methodologies periodically to deliver best. A feedback mechanism will lead to further improvement.

A teacher helps to light the path of ignorance and spread the brightness of positivity and knowledge. When such sacred motive is present behind the teacher student relationship then how come any student can leave without receiving the flame of wisdom.

Written by Marinelle Adams

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