“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?
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 Recognise When a Student is Struggling?
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.
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
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.
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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
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!