By Nasima Shah
It is an admitted fact that all children don’t learn at the same pace, some of them learn quickly and others need time and practice to learn. To meet the requirement of these students, which are often labeled as slow learners, the teacher plays an important role. But unfortunately most of the teachers are not fair with slow learners in the classrooms. In this piece of writing I will highlight some of the most frequent unfair behavior of teachers towards slow learners in the classroom of our context.
Students expect their teachers to treat everyone in the class equally, but many teachers favor some students over others. They prefer those students who are academically strong. This leads them to neglect the students who are slow in getting new concepts. According to Bernard E. et al, the differences which the teachers make among students show biasness in interacting with them, such as calling on some students to answer questions more frequently than others or allowing some students to dominate discussions. This biased behavior negatively influences self-esteem of those students who have difficulty in learning. As endorsed by Roland.V (1999) when treated in less important way students will feel less competent as learners, they will have lower level of intrinsic motivation which may in turn influence their depth of learning. This sort of unfair behavior of teachers compels the students to either quit the school or repeat the same grade several times, which is totally unfair towards them.
The other form of unfairness the teachers make towards slow learners is the criteria of assessments; the assessment either formative or summative is unfriendly towards them. As stated by different educationists, that slow learners have limited intellectual development therefore this factor should be taken into account while teaching and assessing them. But regrettably most teachers as well as the school systems are not considering this factor while assessing the students with learning difficulties. They are assessed with the ordinary assessment tools which are mostly designed for the students who have no any learning difficulties. These tools do not meet their level of understanding and they remain left behind from the rest of the class.
Literature suggests some very easy and implementable ways to deal with slow learners in the classrooms. For example, while designing lessons teachers can consider the problems of slow learners by giving them an activity which could cater their needs. S/he can give extra time for them to complete their work while having a backup activity for the rest of the class. Teachers can also make efforts to understand the needs of the slow learners, for this purpose meetings or discussions among the teachers teaching at the same level can be helpful. They can be helped out by involving their parents in the process of teaching and learning. The involvement of parents in the school activities of their children will help the teachers to have a more in-depth understanding about the behavior and learning style of the slow learners. This will ultimately benefit the learners in grasping new concepts in the classroom.
On the whole it can be concluded that in most of the situations teachers are not fair with slow learners. They ignore them during classroom teaching and in the process of assessment. The slow learners can be treated fairly if the teachers bring an inclusive approach in their teaching.
Nasima Shah, MA, M.ed, is a Trained Graduate Science Teacher in one of the public schools of GB. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org
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