You all might have witnessed some children struggling really to learn with no apparent reason. Due to the tendency of individual differences coupled with genetics and the home environment sometimes makes things even serious. Slow learning does not necessarily be applicable only for the academics but in fact it can be observed in many things such as sociability, communication, interaction with peers, and siblings. Another most complicated thing about the poor performance is that we cannot precisely judge what caused such situation so is the reason many parents ignore such behaviors by thinking that it cannot really happen.
What is slowness in a child?
In reality there are no abnormal children because it is perceived that a slight deviation in the growing children is a part of their normal course of development and that is the reason we call them children rather than the fully matured adults. There is no specific metric that gives a precise inference about the exact cause and extent of the problem. However, it is very essential for the parents and the teachers to really understand why some children do are different than the others and what are some dos and don’ts in such situations. Let us dive deep into the causes and management of slow learning in young children.
Reasons for slow learning
Every child is unique hewer, the principles of growth and development has given a scale range within which each child is weighed based on the developmental milestones. A milestone is an expected behavior or attribute that needs to be achieved at least by the upper range of the time period; for example, most children are able to speak some words by 18 months, if not at least by 2 years. If a child at the age of 3 years fail to form words, it is definitely a cause of concern for parents and this is where we need some scientific research on why is this happened to our child and what could be the possible outcomes. In order to understand what makes a child is serious laggard, it is important to learn a little bit about the science behind normal development. The normalcy helps to distinguish between the normal from the deviated behaviors. Human development is divided into physical, social, emotional, psychosexual, intellectual, moral and spiritual developmental areas. A slight deviation in one of the following may have negative impact on the long-term developmental perspective of the child. However it is not considered serious unless child fails to achieve very basic expectations of schooling and family behaviors. Some of the parameters on which we can determine the slowness of a child are;
1. Not being able to be a part of competent schooling and scholastic activities such as writing, reading, speaking, and playing with mates.
2. Poor weight gain as a consequence of serious familial, or acquired medical condition that can significantly impact the academics. Some of them are cerebral palsy, autistic disorder, mental retardation, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, chronic epilepsy, mental illnesses, blindness, and physical disablements such as visual and motor ailments.
3. Poor thinking, judgmental and rationalization due to brain related disorders like microcephaly, anencephaly, macrocephaly, and birth related hypoxic injuries.
4. Serious interpersonal issues in the family that lead to sociopathic behavior in children.
5. Child abuse is one of the most notable cause of poor academic performance.
6. Environmental variables including poor home facilities for learning skills, poor intake of quality diet, chronic sleep deprivation, adverse parental attitudes towards children`s education.
7. School related issues such as large class room that fails to provide individual attention, inappropriate opportunities in school, poor quality of teaching, lack of age-appropriate learning aids, poor or unqualified teachers.
8. Repeated changes of school and residential places.
9. Poor motivation and sensory stimulation especially when the child is young adds more problem as it can induce the lack of confidence in self and need for academic achievement.
10. Some kids suffer from extreme timidity and anxiety which can cause poor levels of attainment.
Identification of slow learners
Slow learners are to be identified by engaging children closely with the family and teachers so that it creates enough space to watch them closely. Some of the tools and techniques that help in tracing the poor kids are as follows.
1. Very close observation of day-to-day activities and behaviors of children by parents as well as teachers. It is very important that a cooperative and team approach is essential to deal children with slowness.
2. Periodic assessment of children's performance in specific subjects and the findings from the behavioral charts, anecdotal records, and cumulative grade sheets can be used to supplement the information necessary for the diagnosis.
3. Verbal opinion of parents about the child's progress and difficulties that he or she is facing at the home environment, not interested to attend homework, language difficulties, emotional problems and history of serious long-term diseases need to be collected.
4. IQ test gives a precise idea of the level of intellectual disability and the appropriate remedies.
Teaching strategies for slow learners
Teaching slow learners require commitment, patience and an empathetic approach from a teacher. Though there are ubiquitous number of strategies to train these brains, very few of them are tested and proved to be good ones. Some of the most common methods employed in educational settings includes, private tuitions or home tuition, within class ability grouping, cooperative learning, one-one or individualized instruction, and mastery learning are among many others.
It is one of the flexible, easy and comfortable methods to provide personal attention to the weaker segments. This method works on the basis of classifying the students based on their ability into groups such as smart children, average learners and poor learners. Care should be taken about not to create bias among the groups instead it must be ascertained that it is going to be useful for everyone. Within-class ability grouping is more effective if the groups are limited and smaller in size; maximum 3 groups can do best.
It is an instructional approach in which students are positioned into small dissimilar groups that includes the mix of average and smart learners so that the average ones receive some inputs from the other. Once again, a teacher should constantly monitor the groups to void conflicts and arguments. But when implemented properly, cooperative learning can have dramatic influence in the learning outcomes of slow learners.
A home tutor is a one-one instructor who really knows about the learner completely. It is gaining a great popularity from the past 2 decades in India, however, getting a home tutor doesn't mean the child is really slow but it can be one of the booster to improve the instructional environment and the grades. There are many organizations that provide home tuition in Bangalore, Chennai and other major cities.
In mastery learning, the learning environment is so prepared that students develop mastery of prerequisite skills before they actually proceed into a new lesson however , it must be considered after successful trials as sometimes it may lead to confusion among slow learners.