Ways to Help Slow and Struggling Learners

A slow or struggling learner learns or understands things at a pace lower than other learners. Teachers often encounter such students in class, and these students must be taken good care of and ignored for not keeping up with peers.

Learning is an essential but sometimes complicated process. It can be very harsh for slow, struggling learners if proper guidance is not given to them since learning is a never-ending process and one pursues learning throughout their lives. Hence a teacher must know different ways to help slow and struggling learners.

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These are some of the effective methods to help slow and struggling learners:

1. Giving real-world examples

Giving real-world examples can help a lot to the students as they can relate to it very quickly, making it easy to understand complex topics. In mathematics, giving real-world examples helps a lot as many students face difficulty understanding mathematics topics. Students sometimes don’t find practical use of mathematical tools in their real-life; hence providing real-world examples for such subjects can help students learn effectively.

2. Avoid teaching too much content at one time

Teaching too much content creates confusion among students, especially for the slow and struggling learners, as they take more time to grasp a particular topic. When a teacher teaches lots of content simultaneously, it makes them much less effective, and they even tend to forget what they already know. Hence, the quality of content should be focussed upon and not the quantity of content.

3. Teach reading skills

Slow learners often struggle more while reading, and as a result, when the teacher asks them to read anything, they feel embarrassed, which demotivates them to read and learn more. Some of the tips for teachers to help students have good reading skills are teaching students to use the dictionary, read while putting their finger on the word they are reading, teaching students to recognize some phrases and idioms, and so on.

4. Ask more frequent questions

Asking students frequent questions can help them develop a sense of attentiveness and responsibility towards the class. A teacher can know what topic should be repeated by asking questions to the students. Many slow learners struggle with learning because of their insufficient knowledge of the basics in any subject, and asking basic questions can help them improve effectively.

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5. Encourage them

Encouraging slow and struggling learners can be beneficial to boost their self-confidence.

6. Don’t scold them

Scolding or taunting slow, struggling students can worsen the situation. If a teacher scolds a student in front of the whole class, they get too demotivated. Try to motivate them instead, keep the student more focused on their study instead of overthinking what the entire class thinks of them.

7. Graphical / Pictorial representations

One of the most effective ways of teaching is a graphical or pictorial representation of the course content. Use diagrams and graphs to teach students. Graphs in mathematics are too helpful for students as it is easy to understand graphs compared to theoretical study. At the same time, diagrams in subjects like science can be beneficial for students to memorize anything quickly, while pictures can be very effective while studying subjects like history, geography, literature.

Contributed by:
Edmund Hinkel