It is the joy of every parent to see their kids soar academically. No teacher will love to see their students struggle in school either. Unfortunately, sometimes students struggle in school (even the supposedly gifted ones), despite being exposed to good teachers and the right resources.
Although, it is no cause for alarm if a student's grade gets low and returns to getting good grades. However, it is a cause of worry if a student gets bad grades repeatedly. This is because it is a very slippery stage - once a student starts getting bad grades, they start feeling left behind, then start falling behind by losing interest and missing school. This could lead to the student eventually dropping out of school.
“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.” - Eliphas Levi
Anyone, even seemingly gifted students, can struggle at school, even with good teachers and the right resources. On the other hand, once a student starts missing school, falling behind, or failing their exams, it’s a slippery slope. At the worst, this can result in a child leaving school with absolutely no qualifications.
There are thousands of teenagers in the UK leaving obligatory schooling without a single GCSE to show for it. This can make you doubt the ability of education in the UK to actually educate younger generations.
So how can a private tutor help students avoid this worst-case-scenario?
Yearly, there are thousands of students all across Canada who dropout of high school. The rate keeps increasing every day. This is a cause of worry and could make you question the ability of teachers to educate younger generations.
To prevent this, some parents have started calling for outside help in the form of a tutor. So, can a tutor help students avoid this "worse-case" scenario, and how can this be done?
This is the question we’re going to look at over the course of this article. Here are our tips and advice on how to teach using effective teaching strategies and engage with struggling students.
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How Do You Recognize When a Student is Struggling?
Over the years, the amount of dropouts keeps increasing in Canada. There are probably a thousand and one reasons for this increase. But, many could still have made it past high school.
First, we should identify who is struggling. A struggling student, in most instances, is a student who is not working on their full potentials, one who does not seem to be interested in getting good grades in school.
Last year, over 7,000 students left schooling without any GCSEs. Of course, there are many reasons for this figure, but those who could have left with GCSEs are those that we’re interested in at the moment. There’s a strong link between your performance at school and your later career.
A struggling student, most of the time, is a student who isn’t interested in their results at school, going to university, or working a skilled job in the future. However, in a lot of cases, this might just be down to a lack of confidence and a belief that they’re unable to do anything academically.
The teacher’s job is to make sure that the student doesn’t feel abandoned at school or develop a negative image of their own abilities and future. A struggling student is also a student who isn’t working to their full potential and it’s the teacher’s job to help get the most out of them. Simply put, they need to adopt the pedagogy for the student.
A struggling student may be one who must work against dyslexia...
As we know, students in school generally study GCSEs when they’re 16 and have the option to study their A Levels at a sixth form or college before going onto study a degree in a subject they’re interested in. A struggling student won’t see this as feasible for them and might even refuse academic support as they see themselves as a lost cause.
The Teacher or Tutor’s Role for Struggling Students
A teacher teaches more than just a given subject. They also give students the tools they need to become better learners. There’s also a psychological aspect to teaching where the teacher needs to manage students’ in order to stop them from failing. Failing at school can happen to the best of students and it’s not the end of the world.
The student needs to be seen as an opportunity rather than a burden. After all, this should be the main reason why they became a teacher, to help students realise their potential. If they can’t help young talent achieve their best, they shouldn’t be a teacher.
A teacher does not teach students a subject alone. They make them become better learners by giving them all the tools required to help them achieve this. Even the best students can fail at some point in school, and it is not the end of the world.
So, teachers also have psychological roles in managing the students to prevent them from failing repeatedly.
Of course, they need to adopt the right teaching approach, listen to the student, and make them aware of how important their schooling is in terms of their future career and their quality of life.
Helping struggling students is a challenge that all countries face and ours is no exception and it can happen at any moment throughout a student’s time at school. There’s also a lot of prejudice towards struggling students and we need to be encouraging students rather than putting them down.
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The tutor also needs to highlight a student’s talents, their potential, and their good results. In short, success is a good thing and it needs to be mentioned, commended and used to motivate students so that they know when they’ve achieved something. It doesn’t matter whether this achievement is artistic, literary, or sporting, anything can make a student feel more capable.
Dealing with Struggling Students on Their Own
You are a teacher or a tutor to help students realize or see their full potential. Therefore, you should see the struggling student as an opportunity rather than a burden to help them achieve their best. If a teacher cannot help a young talent blossom, such a person is not a teacher.
Of course, you may have a lot of work to do. This may range from adopting a teaching approach that will engage the student more, listening to the student, reassuring them and boosting their self-confidence, and making them aware of how important their schooling is regarding their career in the future and their quality of life generally.
Struggling students exist everywhere in the world and can happen at any moment to any student. There is a lot of prejudice towards them; you need to encourage them rather than criticizing them with your speech.
A tutor needs to make the students see their potential, talents, and the outcome of devoting time to achieving a better grade and their goals. These achievements, goals, or talents need not be academic. It can be artistic, sporting, literary, or anything they excel in and make them feel more capable.
Struggling students are not a detriment to their other classmates, but their attitude, if left unchecked, might cause a negative influence on the entire class.
Struggling students are just like any other student and they’re also not. Of course, they’re not necessarily a detriment to their classmates but their attitude might become a problem and have a negative influence on the class as a whole.
They need to be made aware of their potential, that they’re gifted, intelligent, or that they can learn quickly. A few words of encouragement can go a long way to turning things around. A lot of children can struggle at school because they feel hopeless. They need to be given a chance to excel and have the feeling that they can.
Being a teacher involves so much more than just transferring knowledge to students. A teacher needs to manage their students’ morale and adapt their teaching approaches to each class. When a child starts struggling, the most important thing is to make sure they don’t lose confidence in their own abilities, listen to them, and advise them on the best way to stop things getting worse.
Students with dyspraxia are particularly at risk...
Throughout a student's time at school, there are a number of hurdles that students need to get over. Teachers and tutors are there to help them over these hurdles, keep them on the right path, and make sure that they don’t give up before they reach the goal. Hopefully, this is resonating with the teachers out there.
Seeing the Future as an Opportunity for Struggling Students
To struggling students, degrees may seem like an unobtainable piece of paper. But, with a bit of work, determination, support, and the help of a teacher or tutor, they can achieve incredible results and obtain the unobtainable.
Sure, passing exams is not always easy and gets more complex the higher the level you study. It would help if you made students see their future as an opportunity to gain the qualifications they will need to secure their dream jobs or careers. You should also let them know that they might not get the same opportunities if they do not have the right qualifications.
Your job as a tutor is to guide them to see things positively if they want a chance to achieve their goals and dreams. It is no secret that school can be challenging at times, making them see the need to look forward to the future and see it as an opportunity to work towards a career where they may experience failure, success, and everything in between.
Great teachers spend a lot of time developing themselves professionally, preparing lessons, improving their class management skills, learning new teaching strategies, and working with different learning styles. For a school teacher, it may be difficult to go through all these preparations and more difficult to find time to encourage students individually.
A good tutor will find and employ various teaching methods, instructional aid, and activities to teach the curriculum and engage the student in the learning experience.
Passing exams isn’t always easy. The higher the level you study, the more work you’re expected to put in. Degrees may seem like unobtainable pieces of paper to some students, but with a bit of work, support, and the help of a gifted teacher or tutor, even struggling students can achieve incredible results.
A student needs to see their future as an opportunity to gain the qualifications they’ll need in order to get the job or career they want. They mightn’t get the same opportunities if they don’t have the right qualifications.
Thus, your job as a teacher or a tutor is to make them see that if they want a certain job or career, they’ll need to look at things positively and see that they’ll have the chance to achieve all this. A teacher needs to be there to help a student realise their ambition rather than feeling like they can’t do anything and leaving school without a single GSCE to their name, for example.
As we all know, there are challenging times at school, something which a lot of struggling students will be all too familiar with. However, students need to look to the future and see it as their chance to work towards a career where they’ll fail, succeed, and everything in between.
Struggling students are a teacher’s worst nightmare in terms of their job. However, they are also a teacher’s greatest challenge and opportunity. It’s up to them to change a student’s attitude towards learning, improve their results, and set them on the right path.
They shouldn’t feel downhearted by the fact they have a struggling student but rather see it as their chance to really change a young person’s life for the better. With the right approaches, teachers can perform miracles.
A good educator will use a variety of teaching methods and instructional activities to teach the curriculum and engage their students in the learning experience. Their classroom needs to be a learning environment where each learner wants to be taught and demonstrate what they've learnt in a given discipline. Teaching and learning are different sides of the same coin and you can't have an effective teacher without students making the most of engaging lessons.
Great teachers spend a lot of time preparing their lessons, working on their professional development, improving their classroom management, and considering how different teaching strategies work with different learning styles.
Of course, for a school teacher, it might be difficult to find the time for all this preparation and it might also be difficult to encourage each student as a large part of their job is being an administrator rather than a teacher. However, with enthusiasm and the right knowledge and skills, a teacher can inspire students and get the academic outcome they and their students deserve.
Of course, all of the above advice is also true for private tutors who've been enlisted to help struggling students!
What a Tutor Can do to Help Struggling Students
Some students have poor priorities. Some are undisciplined and lazy, and this may be the source of their struggles academically. As a tutor, you have to make them prioritize studying to overcome academic struggles.
It may be quite amusing if you find that the student who is struggling academically still spends at least five hours per day playing video games. Excessive video gaming is an example of poor priorities. Other distractions include; mindless internet surfing, social media, smartphones, television, etc.…
Work with their parents to help set boundaries by restricting some of these distractions. However, sports should not be considered a distraction as some exercises have been found to improve cognitive function and the growth of gray matter, which has neurons responsible for processing information.
Teach the student study skills
Teaching your students different study skills to help them overcome low motivation is essential. A student who is struggling academically should be encouraged to learn note-taking, organization, and planning skills. This will make them more prepared and hence more motivated.
True, a student may slide by or even get good grades without ever learning study skills. But, what if the student finally encounters a course beyond their natural skills for the first time? Then the student may struggle. This is why even brilliant students struggle at some point in their academic pursuits.
The truth is that the student scaled through so far because of a higher IQ but still has a lurking problem – lack of study skills. When the problem manifests, such students experience low motivation.
When struggling students are taught study skills, they are empowered to help them boost self-confidence to overcome their low motivation.
Ensure the student gets enough sleep and a good diet
While ensuring that the student gets enough sleep and a good diet may not be your job as a tutor, this does not mean you cannot work with the parents to achieve this.
Some students are struggling academically because of a lack of sleep and a poor diet. Studies have shown that students who do not get enough sleep get low grades. How can they learn if they are battling tiredness?
A good diet has also been linked to positive academic performance. A recent study found that students did better on reading tests if they ate the proper amount of vegetables, proteins, fruits, and fiber while avoiding caloric intake of saturated fats.
As a tutor who wants to see your struggling students overcome their struggle to excel academically, you'd sure want everything in place to boost your efforts.
Struggling students exist everywhere in the world. Even the most brilliant students struggle academically sometimes. If left unchecked, the negative attitude can rub off on some of their mates. A good tutor can correct this and help students to get the academic excellence they deserve.
If you are a student in Canada struggling with any of your subjects in school, you can contact a tutor from Superprof to help you get back on your academic feet.
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