6 Things Every Teacher Should Know about Slow Learners

Helping Slow Learners Succeed in School

Slow learners are not non-learners! They must be taught and they so want to learn and succeed! A few adjustments in their learning process can make a big difference!

Slow learners want their teachers to know…

1. We Need More Time to Figure Things Out

  • Give more practice problems in a particular area.
  • More time may be needed on speed drills or reading comprehension than is allowed for in the curriculum.
  • Show patience! Tutor after school in help classes, if necessary.
  • Create emotional security by not embarrassing them in front of their peers.
  • Modify curriculum, if necessary—ie. shorten spelling list.

2. We Need More Explanation and Direct Instruction

  • Be sure that instructions and expectation are given clearly.
  • Define the terms—read, circle, count, find, define, copy, list, discuss, summarize, compose, identify, etc.
  • Have them repeat the instructions, if necessary. Point to the area on the paper that you are explaining; see it, say it, cover it, say it.
  • Explain material in creative ways.
  • Teach them to listen for key words in explanations.

3. We Need Help in Organizing Our Work, Our Desk, and Our Priorities

  • Provide a homework sheet or planner with a checklist format.
  • Show what an organized desk looks like.
  • Work closely with the parents to check completed work.

4. We Need to Know Why We Have to Know What You Are Teaching Us

  • Motivate with practical reasons to learn material.
  • Set short range and attainable goals.
  • Give many encouraging words and praise often.
  • Say “I love you” often and write it in personal notes.
  • Pray for students and tell them that you are praying for them.

5. We Have Difficulty Focusing Our Attention on Learning Tasks

  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
  • Seat them in the front of the classroom.
  • Be punctual and prepare materials well before class.
  • Expect accuracy and neatness in work.
  • Model correct behavior in front of students.
  • Stay as consistent as possible in classroom management and expectations.

6. We Sometimes Have a Hard Time Sitting Still

  • They need an active recess.
  • They need organized sports at recess to learn social skills.
  • Pair them with brighter students who will help the slower student and be humble about helping.
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