Failure is never a bus-stop for students; it is just a checkpoint for all successful students.
--Emmanuel Peter Obong
While we have grown up listening or reading that failure is just a stepping stone to success, somehow we still fear failure. Unknowingly, adults channel their sense of fear into children. As a result, children end up reeling under the pressure of performance, especially in the academics.
Not all children are same. They have different personalities and own pace of learning. Some may be quick to grasp what is taught in the class; some need more time than the others. However, it doesn’t establish the fact that the child who scores well in the exam is more intelligent or smarter than the one who doesn’t. Maybe, the child who is academically less inclined excels in art, music, sports or another field. Unfortunately, children are still assessed by the number of failures than success.
The failing student is discouraged to the extent that s/he may get panic attacks, exhibit social withdrawal symptoms or become absolutely uninterested in studies. Since students spend their major part of academic life in schools, a teacher’s role in uprooting the fear of failure becomes integral to their development. After all, who knows students better than their teachers?
So, the onus lies on teachers on adopting a tailor-made tactic for underperforming students. Here are five useful tips for teachers to help their failing students succeed in life.
No student deserves to be ‘written off’ as a failure simply because s/he is not able to pass with flying colours. At times, such students try to voice their doubts and concerns in the class, but the lack of acknowledgement from teacher disheartens them. Teachers can make conscious efforts to give them personal attention and show that all students are equal in her eyes. Make sure these students understand that they can talk to teachers about anything, anytime.
Sometimes parents are so caught up in personal or professional demands that they are not even aware of their child’s failures. If teachers feel that lack of support or unhealthy learning environment at home is the reason behind the student’s failure, they should promptly get in touch with parents. However, instead of telling the parents up front that their child is failing, teachers should communicate the ways how parents can help their child in studies at home.
It has often been seen that academically bright students are always given first preference in any activity or talent stage which earns them more brownie points in the school. Instead, teachers should persuade the failing students to participate in various activities or give them important responsibilities in the school that give them an opportunity to prove their worth. For example, the student can be asked to represent the class in a debate competition or supervise the backstage on annual functions. Such opportunities will increase their confidence.
Some children learn better with an audio-visual medium, group discussions or hands-on experiments. Some others are more comfortable learning in the informal environment than the traditional classrooms. Some of them prefer short or objective assignments. Teachers should assess the strengths and weakness of failing students and accordingly, deploy different modes of instructions to get the learning across to such students. Similarly, teachers can start with easy levels and the student gains more confidence, the difficulty level can be increased.
Every time the failing student does something good, no matter how trivial it is, teachers should applaud it in front of the entire class. Talk little about their failures, but talk a lot and big about their success. This kind of appreciation from teachers will motivate the student to work on the next milestone with more vigour and hard work.
Failure in the class is not the report card to a student’s success in life. The world is full of examples of people who were not academic achievers or were school-dropouts, but have succeeded exceedingly well than peers. Teachers can make a positive influence on children’s current and future life. They should aim to teach the students that learning lessons from failures, hard work and determination to overcome disappointments is what eventually matters the most in life.