One of the most common questions teachers ask is, “How to manage weaker students?” First, the world would be a much better place if we stopped thinking of certain students as weaker than others. What if we replaced the word “weakness” with “area of opportunity” or “area of challenge”? We immediately begin to consider the students differently! No two children are alike. Similarly, each and every student is unique with their own strengths, capacity for learning, and areas of opportunity. Dealing efficiently and sensitively with students who are underperforming academically can be difficult. Sadly, often such students tend to be written off as unmotivated, lazy, or simply incapable. And doing so over time severely undermines their self-assurance which further degrades their academic achievement.
Therefore, it is crucial to approach students who need more support in a strategic and thoughtful manner. They need extra guidance and assistance. Here are seven strategies to help you with this:
1) Identify why exactly the students need help
It is crucial for teachers to first understand and assess a student's areas of challenges. You can assist them better if you become more familiar with their weaknesses and strengths. Remember, there could be many reasons for a weak academic performance including the following:
Worry and stress in home life
Less access to study materials
Less or no access to support with learning
If you first evaluate students for such issues, you are better able to assist them correctly.
2) Provide encouragement
When dealing with academically underachieving students, criticism comes naturally. The teacher's criticism may cause a student to get completely demotivated and give up on their studies and efforts.
In order to lift the students up, it is important to gently encourage them rather than put them down. In addition to boosting their self-esteem, this will encourage students to approach you with their concerns, queries or worries.
3) Engage them in multiple ways
Just as adults have strong preferences, likes and dislikes, so do children. Not all students can and should be expected to get motivated by the same things. Not all students can and should be expected to learn in the same way. It is critical for teachers to apply and use a variety of teaching methods, strategies, visuals and teaching aids in order to catch the attention of and engage a variety of learners.
A teacher training program with modern pedagogy strategies can help teachers learn new ways to engage with their students. Such programs can provide them with additional knowledge and resources for improving their teaching skills. Through professional development opportunities, teachers can learn strategies for classroom management, effective communication, and creating a positive learning environment. Know more: The importance of teacher training program
4) Provide constructive feedback
A student's overall performance can be greatly improved when they receive constructive criticism. Everyone loves to hear appreciation and positive feedback, which encourages students to work harder. Therefore, teachers must focus on wording feedback carefully. Constructive feedback means providing concrete and specific information, points, and examples that will help students understand their areas of weakness and know what they must do to perform better. Constructive feedback does not mean not giving critical feedback.
5) Recognize students’ efforts
Students can be encouraged to work harder when their efforts are recognised and rewarded . Being praised for one's efforts can be a very strong motivator for underperforming students as it boosts their self-esteem. Remember, always praise in public and provide constructive feedback in private.
6) Involve the parents
Parents and teachers are partners in the process of a child’s education. So, don't forget to include parents in your efforts. It is critical to communicate with them and express your concerns as well as your plans to support the students. You should also explain to them how they can help in the development of their child, be it completing homework or exam preparation. Actively involving the parents as partners ensures that the child receives holistic, all-round support in all facets of their lives. It also reduces the stress on the teacher.
7) Use appropriate technologies and tools
One of the most popular concepts in education today is personalization using A.I. With artificial intelligence, every student can get a tailored learning experience based on their own distinct and unique strengths and areas of opportunities, and this helps weaker students the most.
In order for students to get the most out of their learning, AI may adjust to their level of knowledge, rate of learning, and ultimate goals. AI-powered tools can examine student's prior learning patterns, spot errors, and recommend lessons best suited for their growth.
One such technology tool is Tara English Language Lab (TELL). TELL is an AI-driven voice assistant teacher that helps learners improve their English communication skills. With Tara, students can learn at their own pace, which can help them retain information more effectively and feel more confident in their language abilities.
As an educator, you must be ready and able to work with different types of students and meet their specific needs. To help you with this, there are teacher training programs that can help you with the best strategies to help students who need extra support.
With a little extra work from your end through a teacher training program, you can indeed make learning an enjoyable and successful experience for all students.