“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” - Christopher Reeve

We often say that teaching is the noblest profession in the world. It’s true that teaching requires impeccable values.

When you teach students, you have to provide them with knowledge and give them the skills to become functioning members of society. However, private tutorials can give students a little extra help when they need it.

More and more young students are dropping out of university in the UK. In fact, this figure has continuously risen in recent years.

Just like no two teachers are the same, no two students are the same. As a teacher, you have to adapt your pedagogy to each student. This is even truer if the students happen to have special educational needs.

In this article, we’re going to look at how to teach students with autism, dyspraxia, or dyslexia, and students who are struggling at school

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How to Teach Failing Students?

Every student, no matter how good they are, may struggle to achieve their academic objectives. However, some students struggle academically or have behavioural problems that hinder their ability to learn. Students can struggle in any subject, be it physics, French, maths, or history.

How do you teach struggling students?
A child with learning difficulties isn't necessarily a difficult child. (Source: KokomoCole)

A teacher’s job will be to guide the struggling student and make them aware of their potential and why schooling and their academic performance will be important for their future. Teachers need to adapt their teaching approach, how they speak to their students, and the advice they give to them. Communication can be constructive, but you have to communicate in the right way in order to encourage students.

In fact, in order to teach a student who’s struggling, you don’t really want them to leave a lesson feeling less encouraged than before. You need to be aware of their abilities without focusing too much on their issues. This is where teachers’ talent comes into play, they need to be a guide, support their students, and act as a learning coach for struggling students.

Thus, academic support or private tutorials for struggling students need to involve both a teacher who’s passionate about the subjects they teach and invested in their students’ learning, especially those with learning disabilities or who are struggling at school.

A teacher needs to be aware that a student’s future may be decided at school. Nobody is genetically predisposed to liking school, but you do need to appreciate what you learn there. This is something that struggling students may not have realised, that their teacher is trying to help them, for example.

You also need to be aware that certain students may be failing due to an underlying issue that hasn't been diagnosed. If you suspect a child may have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dyslexia, dyspraxia (development coordination disorder), or autism spectrum disorder, you'll need to mention it to the appropriate personnel at the school or, if you're teaching private tutorials, you may need to discuss this with the parents.

How To Teach Dyslexic Students

Dyslexia is characterised by spelling and reading difficulties in students with normal intelligence. People with dyslexia struggle with literacy and learning to read due. However, children with dyslexia who have an awareness of their reading problems can still excel in school, given the right teaching strategies are used.

What is dyslexia?
For students with special educational needs, the relationship between the teacher and the student is very important. (Source: White77)

A dyslexic child isn’t any different to any other child. That said, they can be helped by a private tutor to get around their dyslexia, a learning difficulty that a private tutor will need to consider when teaching them.

When they’re in class, they might stand out from the other students due to their difficulties and feel vulnerable in class. It’s a teacher’s job to be patient with them and help them to read and write without pressuring them. Teaching dyslexic students needn’t be challenging, but it does require that you remain aware of certain teaching approaches you’ll need to adopt.

A dyslexic child tends to exhibit the following:

  • Problems with speech and comprehension
  • Language difficulties
  • Difficulties organising themselves in their daily lives
  • Reduced auditive and visual memory
  • Below average reading abilities

However, never underestimate a student’s ability to learn and adapt their behaviour during an academic support tutorial, be it for physics, chemistry, music, or even online academic support tutorials. A dyslexic student can learn in the same way as other students.

Dyslexic students who have all the necessary learning tools can learn just as quickly as any other student. That said, they can have issues with their self-confidence and their tutor’s job will be to ensure that they remain confident in their abilities to learn. A teacher can’t just focus solely on everything they’re getting wrong. Teaching private tutorials or group classes is an art.

You need to juggle different levels, different personalities, and different expectations, especially as a tutor teaching a student with dyslexia. From reception to upper sixth, a teacher’s job is to help a student to progress, regardless of their situation.

If you need more information on this reading disability or dysgraphia or dyscalculia, consider visiting the site of the British Dyslexia Association and finding out more about how you can help students with their reading and writing. You'll have to adapt some of the activities you use in your classroom or private tutorials, remembering that certain tasks and activities are incredibly difficult for dyslexic children, especially if the task requires reading skills, reading aloud, word recognition, or handwriting.

How to Teach Students with Autism

Autism is a condition that comes with a lot of common misconceptions. Many people think that those with autism live in a bubble, isolated from others. However, people with autism can be just as open and intelligent as anyone else and, just like anyone else, can also benefit from private tutorials or academic support. From writing activities in primary school to guitar lessons, anything is possible.

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Which are the most effective teaching techniques for students with special educational needs?
A teacher needs to be able to adapt their lessons to the students they're teacher. (Source: Free-Photos)

This is why tutors needn’t behave much differently. Of course, there are differences that need to be highlighted. However, students with autism aren’t necessarily more difficult to teach and nor are they easier to teach.

While people may think that an autistic student may be unable to interact with others, they can benefit from interaction with other students. A private tutor should never consider that any of their courses or lessons are unsuitable for those with autism.

If a tutor wants to get the most out of their student, they need to see their student as the individual that they are and not in terms of one particular condition but rather their personality and abilities. Like any other student, a student with autism has their own strengths and weaknesses that need to be taken into account in order to get the most out of their learning.

How to Teach Students with Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder (DCD) that affects movement and coordination and can make tasks such as writing, getting dressed, or tying shoelaces very difficult for a student. This can make schooling very difficult. This is why a teacher should know exactly how to teach a student with such a disorder.

What is dyspraxia?
Teaching students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, or any other special educational needs is an opportunity to develop new teaching techniques. (Source: sasint)

Let’s not forget that a student with dyspraxia can still be a very gifted student. They just struggle with actions that other students at school won’t, like writing. You don’t need to talk down to them in order to explain a concept as they can understand just as well as any other student. Only their motor skills are affected, not their general intelligence.

In fact, a dyspraxic student needs their teacher to be there for them, whether it’s their Spanish teacher, maths teacher, or a private tutor. It’s essential that the teacher adapts their lessons and activities to work with the student. The main idea is to adopt the right teaching approach and pedagogy.

Whether a student is dyslexic, autistic, dyspraxic, or struggling at school, a tutor’s job is to provide them with tailored lessons that help them to get the most out of their abilities in spite of any difficulties they may have. While teaching isn’t always relaxing, it is always rewarding.

Can you really put a price on that?

We certainly don't think so!

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