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Strategies for Helping Struggling Students Learn

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teachers need strategies for helping all students succeed, especially those who struggle. This lesson outlines steps teachers can use to help struggling students make progress and reach goals, with examples for classroom use.

When Students Struggle

When Patty was studying to be a teacher, she knew that all students were different and had a unique set of needs. She wasn't prepared, though, for the vast range of abilities the students in her class would have. Many students are below grade level or struggle with learning. Lamar has difficulty with short-term memory, and Faith always seems to be disorganized. Patty is having trouble understanding how to meet the needs of these students.

What Patty doesn't realize is that we all learn and process information in unique ways. Though many of us are able to find success in a typical classroom environment, many students aren't wired in a way that allows them to understand content when taught this way. As a teacher, part of Patty's job is to determine strategies that will help all students learn, including those who struggle with traditional learning methods, and be responsive, or aware and ready to help. With the right strategies, students like Lamar and Faith can learn.

Helping Struggling Students

Patty can help Lamar and Faith in several ways. By paying close attention to them (more on this in a bit), she can respond to their needs before, during, and after teaching. When working with them in whole and small group situations, or in a one-on-one session, Patty can use these methods to help struggling students find success:

  • take small steps
  • keep the focus and attention on problem
  • build on what students know
  • have students self-monitor
  • praise small steps

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