1. Teach Perseverance
One of the most important skills in the real world is not giving up when things get tough. It’s essential that educators teach coping mechanisms at a young age, especially when students are struggling in a classroom environment. When students face adversity, they need to have a few different strategies in their back pocket such as mindfulness to manage their negative emotions. They also need to learn it’s okay to fail sometimes because that’s what helps them learn.
2. Take It Step By Step
Sometimes the easiest way for a struggling student to understand a particular concept is to break it down. For example, during small group work instead of giving them a list of 10 questions to answer together all at once, start by having them work on one question at a time. Then, let them regroup and discuss their answers before moving onto the next one.
3. Keep Lessons Short and Frequent
Short, frequent lessons are much better than longer and more sporadic lessons. Most students, and especially those who are struggling, have short attention spans. The shorter the lesson, the more likely they’ll pay attention. Make sure the lessons are frequent as well so they’re continuing their learning at a steady pace.
4. Focus On Time Management Skills
Students who struggle more than others in class often feel overwhelmed when they get stuck on one question while others have moved on. To alleviate this source of frustration, give them a solid timeframe of how long a certain assignment or question should take so they understand it’s okay to move on to the next one if they’re currently unable to figure it out. This will help them learn how long they need to spend on something without becoming overwhelmed.
5. Ask Questions That Require Student to Think
When a student is struggling with a topic, it could be they haven’t spent enough time thinking about it. One way to remedy that is to take time to ask questions that require them to think critically about their answer. Avoid calling on students immediately after asking a question and instead give them time to formulate their response. Teach them to think deeper and make inferences instead of blurting out something random.
6. Help Students Identify Their Strengths
If a student is weak in one particular area, help them understand what they’re actually good at. Developing strengths can increase a student’s confidence. If they believe they can improve, they’ll be more motivated to put effort into areas they don’t do well in. This will also teach them that not everyone is perfect at everything.
7. Write Down All the Directions For an Assignment
Some students have a hard time paying attention or remembering things. By writing down instructions, it will be easier for them to understand what to do next and relieve some of their struggle with understanding the task at hand.
8. Limit Questions
While asking questions is one of the best ways for students to understand what they’re doing, it can quickly become disruptive to the rest of the class if one student is constantly raising their hand. To solve this, limit the number of questions that a student can ask during a lesson. Then, to help the students who are still struggling after being taught, either work with them one-on-one during class or schedule a time outside of class where a student can ask for extra help.
9. Incorporate Multisensory Instruction
Not all students learn the same way. Some learn better through visual graphics, others learn better when given oral instructions, and some prefer hands on learning, etc. That’s why it’s important to introduce different styles of learning so everyone has a fair chance of understanding the concept in a way that works for them. As an added bonus, when teachers expose students to more than one learning technique, they retain the material better.
10. Encourage Students Whenever Possible
Effective teachers should make sure to recognize the effort every student puts into their work. Conversely, it’s important to acknowledge when a student is struggling and praise them for trying to overcome their obstacles. Verbally recognizing a student’s hard work can help them feel like they’re on the right path and motivate them to push past their frustration.
Written by Anumita Basani
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