In a class, there are several types of students. Teachers hence should be equipped with various methods that can meet the varying needs of students with differential IQ levels. While some students find it easy to grasp the concepts taught in class, but some struggle in that. Teachers, in their endeavor to handhold students struggling with attention and learning issues implement a set of strategies that will make learning easy. Identifying a struggling learner is the key to effective teaching, here are some time-tested strategies that can be of great help to both teachers and struggling students.
One size does not fit all. Segregation of teaching instructions is the practice followed by teachers, to help both fast and slow learners make the most of the classroom lectures. Commonly known as Differentiated Instructions, this approach, true to its name, allows teachers to fine-tune their teaching procedures in line with what the students need to learn.
This practice also helps teachers ponder about how slow learners will be able to assimilate what is taught in class. To arrive at this position, teachers will have to work hard to identify ways and means to get the educational content reach the struggling student. Teachers create a plan that makes enough space for extra practice sessions coupled with providing step-by-step instructions. Special assignments will also pave the way for effective learning especially with regards to students with a wide range of learning abilities.
A chunk is a type of a mental pattern that is essential to master a particular topic. A chain, on the other hand is a series of chunks that will automatically help struggling students to excel in a subject. Following a piece-meal, step-by-step learning procedure, students with the guidance of their teachers will be able to create a chain of events. They will then stick to a logical order learning on tools like cue cards, charts and pictures.
All in an attempt to take learning to the next level, teachers can incorporate the concepts of chains and chunks so as to become fluent with high-quality work. And once this fluency is established, struggling students will be able to sail easily and quickly through the various subjects of study in a methodical and scientific manner.
A picture is worth a thousand words. In line with this common maxim, teachers intending to handhold struggling students will draw a picture so as to match the ideas and thoughts of slow learners.
Younger students can make the most of graphical organization of ideas through activities like recalling the characters in a story they just read. Older students, on the other hand, can employ this tactic to chalk out a plan and organize their thoughts so that they can recapitulate all the events that have taken place in history. Take for instance that you are learning about World War II. Through graphical organization of thoughts and ideas, you will be able to better learn through comparing and contrasting topics of the lesson.
Students who find it difficult to learn and remember an answer to a question now have help at their fingertips. They can create an image of a special word that can be tied to the answer they are learning. It can also be the first alphabet of subheads which can be arranged in a series that results in a word. Mnemonics is the name given to this learning pattern. When such words are coined by struggling students, they will be able to recall the answer in a jiffy. Thus, the learning process for struggling students can be simplified by taking the cue from either the image created or the word coined by them.
It is very important for slow learners to use their sense organs while learning. Sense organs provide a distinguishing experience to such students offering them a better grasp of the subject. They will learn better when they see, hear and feel about what they have just learnt.
Multisensory learning paves the way for a complete understanding of the study material. You as a teacher can help students learn new words by drawing a picture that provides the meaning of the word. When trying to recollect the meaning, students begin to visualize the picture you drew and come up with the answer.
It is very important for teachers to coach struggling students employing different strategies that are uncommonly used. The run-of-the-mill educational strategies fall short for such students. In an attempt to make learning effective to such students, teachers need to establish a connection between what the students already know to what they are currently learning. To make this possible, teachers can bring in the excitement of metaphors and analogies.
If a teacher quotes that the human eye is like a camera, he/she is trying to compare unlike things (here the eye and the camera) that have a particular characteristic in common (the power to capture images). Analogies and metaphors usually begin with phrases like “It is same as”, “It’s just like” or “Imagine it to be”. When teachers make such comparisons during lecturing, they are actually helping struggling students to learn new things by associating them with the things they are already aware of.
Procrastination is the mother of all evils. In line with this commonly used maxim, postponing study hours saps the learning abilities of students. Struggling students usually demonstrate a noticeable disinterest towards learning, since they are continuously made to focus on studies. Their minds get clogged with information without any time to relax. This will in turn lead them to procrastinate.
Undoubtedly, all work and no play makes a dull student.
If you want your students to enjoy their learning sessions, you as a guardian should bring in a routine through which they can focus, read and relax; be it in school or at home. A brain break that is permitted after your students accomplish a particular task will help them in more ways than you can imagine. These short breaks recharge their lost mental energies and support them to bounce back with enhanced vigor. Breaks are instrumental in bringing a sense of enjoyment to learning. This concept of regular brain breaks helps rejuvenate the minds of struggling students, nips off procrastination and aids in reinforcing what all is being taught in class or at home.
Every struggling student is gifted with a passion that he/she longs to pursue. For one, it can be the art of playing with colors on a canvas. For some, it could be about creating a soothing music by plucking the strings of a guitar.
When such students are taught how to learn and sharpen their talents, they will be exposed to a host of opportunities. Possibilities begin to emerge, widening their horizons. They will have umpteen ways to keep themselves occupied when they begin to give the talent their heart and soul. While they hone their creative skills, they will also be getting better at doing other things they like the most.
Research is the keyword that will help struggling students to step into the mainstream of education. It is the need of the hour for teachers to not only be vigilant of a slow learner but also handhold him at every stage of learning. Paying heed to the above-mentioned strategies is all about making the most of researching and implementing strategies that will support children with mild special needs to thrive in this competitive world.
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