Teachers are often confronted with students who just don’t seem to be learning as well as others in the class, or who seem to struggle with the course material. Before jumping to any conclusions about why a student might not be making the expected progress, it’s important to consider some of the factors that can have a definite impact on a student’s learning.
Hearing or vision issues
Hearing and vision issues can be quite subtle. Students may often be unaware that they have a problem. Be attentive to signs such as a student consistently turning his head or cupping one ear. Students with vision problems may squint or rub their eyes frequently.
Students who have experienced an injury in the past may have chronic pain issues. This can result in an inability to focus, moodiness, or a need to move and change position frequently.
Medications can have a wide variety of side-effects, and many of these, such a drowsiness, nausea, or dizziness, can impact learning.
Depression or other mental illness
Mental illness is a common health problem, and depression is a most common mental health issue that teachers are very likely to encounter in their classrooms. Depressed students may be forgetful, disorganized, easily frustrated or unable to participate actively in group activities. Some students may also complain of frequent headaches or stomachaches, and miss a lot of classes.
Stress puts people at risk of all kinds of health problems, and can make it difficult for students to
concentrate. Students under a lot of stress may be unable to deal with frustration in learning.
Many learners are tired. Long-term lack of sleep affects cognitive functioning and behaviour, and is a common problem facing many learners.
Negative/Lack of educational experience
Teachers often make assumptions about students’ educational experience, but sometimes fail to realize that their students may not have had the experiences required to prepare them for the classroom.
Some students may have learning disabilities that may or may not have been identified.
So what can a teacher do? These three simple strategies for effective classroom management can help all learners:
Face your students: when giving directions or instructions, make sure you are facing the class
Be organized: having a consistent routine that students can expect and rely on
Provide a plan: let learners know what you are going to do, and review what you’ve done
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