Slow learners – Isn’t this clinical term deplorable for children with below average IQ levels? Seems like a lifelong tag suggesting that such children are non-achievers. On the other hand, slow learners are being a part of regular schools, thus only proving that they are not physically or mentally disabled but only pace disabled. The only problem with them is that they learn concepts and achieve developmental milestones at a pace slower than their peers if they do not suffer from any other disabilities.
Teachers and parents play pivotal roles in a slow learner’s life. Their support and motivation go a long way to help such children overcome their hurdles. This duly signifies that teachers and parents have added responsibility from schools and society toward them.
Creating a healthy and conducive environment for a slow learner is of utmost importance to improve their pace. Often teachers who have a slow learner in their class face grave problems: keeping up with the term syllabus, fear of losing empathy toward such students, and many others. We have put up a few motivation tips for teachers alike to help them cope with at least the basic issues.
10 Tips to teach slow learners
1. Be patient with slow learnersThe foremost aspect of teaching a slow learner is that the educator should be patient and consistent throughout the entire process. The core problem of slow learners’ education is their weak cognitive skills coupled with the slow speed learning. A teacher has to be understanding and patient toward their ability to get distracted easily and having a low attention span. Moreover, teachers must find creative ways to cope with this situation so that the entire class is not affected. One of them is patient repetition. Try repeating every basic instruction, keyword and concept time and again without being boring. Do not over speak, but over teach.
2. Seek school management’s help
Request the school to arrange special classes for slow learners after/before school. Also, check whether you can get a co-teacher or an assistant teacher for your class. This will help you concentrate better on them.
3. Engage fellow classmates in your effortsTeach the other students to empathize with the special students. Specially ask them not to bully or tease slow learners. Inform them about their condition and how they could make a difference. Ensure you have these timely sessions in the slow learner’s absence.
4. Provide minimum homework
We all agree that homework although with its benefits is more of a burden for a child and her parent. Slow learners, in particular, find it difficult to be attentive throughout the school day, let alone coming home and completing homework assignments. For such children, quality matters over quantity. Having minimum homework would help them understand learning and reduce their anxiety. This, in turn, would maintain their enthusiasm toward school. An educator can assign and alter homework personally and leave out small details that may be of little importance. For example, a homework of writing an essay on an English chapter could be modified to reading the chapter twice, and telling the summary to the teacher would be a better idea.
5. Let a buddy teachPeer tutoring works better for slow learners. When their teachers are of the same age, they get encouraged. Let them select 1 or 2 of his friends to form a study group. Assign the study group the task of reiterating the new teachings of the day and assisting with homework.
6. Encourage and Teach the right things
Invite them to come forward during art classes, school activities, or volunteering. Recognize and reward their participation. This would do wonders to their self-confidence. Teach special skills rather than unnecessary skills. This may include following the correct instruction words (count, color, circle, etc.) or listening and focusing on keywords. Remember the main goal is to make them self-sufficient.
7. Give them special takeaways
Hand out special cheat sheets, mini dictionaries, or visually graphic information sheets. One good idea is to give lesson pamphlets for pinning them to their soft boards so that they are surrounded by constant reminders of lessons and activities. Do check out our stash of Math tips and tricks to help motivate them.
8. Praise and raise them
Always praise every tiny effort of a slow learner in front of the class or in public. This would raise their self-esteem and confidence.
9. Encourage constant Parent–Teacher Association
Work very closely with their parents. Ensure the homework and tasks assigned are successfully completed on a daily basis. Be accessible and open to communication. Make sure to listen out to parents’ problems and help to solve them. Conduct special meetings for their parents of apart from the general PTA meets.
10. Lastly, a few don’ts:
- Do not reprimand in front of the class. You may do that in private.
- Do not emphasize on writing, concentrate on reading. Oral education is more beneficial for them.
- Do not let them quit trying. Encourage them to continue their hard work to complete their tasks even if it means postponing it.
- Do not be overprotective. Let their slow learning not become their introduction.