Slow learner students


Q. Slow learner students

Definition of a slow learner

“A slow-learning child is one whose capacity for learning the kind of material which is taught in the ordinary school is limited by some deficit in intellectual capacity. Limited intelligence, however, this may be defined, is the chief characteristic of the ‘Slow learner’ ”.
“Slow learners are children who are doing poorly in school, yet are not eligible for special education their intelligence test scores are too high for consideration as a child with mental retardation
Although slow learners may have special educational needs, they do not fit neatly into the special education system (MacMillan, Gresham, Bocian, & Lambros, 1998).

Who are the slow-learners?

1) Slow learners are those who fail in school because of their low intellectual abilities.

2) Their IQ ranges from 55 / 60 to 85 / 90.

3) They have a wide range of abilities and a variety of characteristics depending on their background.

4) A slow learner is one whose performance is very dismal in the examination.

5) A slow learner is neither mentally retarded nor is on the lower rungs of intelligence scale.

The reasons for some students learning slowly are innumerable.

1) One of the main reasons is the ‘no detention system’ at the primary and upper primary level.

2) Students are promoted to higher classes on the basis of attendance, even if they score low marks.

3) The heterogeneous composition (mental age and physical age) of overcrowded classes in all government run schools and private schools also produces slow learners.

4) So the incapacity of the teacher to pay individual attention to a student over a long period makes a student a slow learner.

5) A slow learner is thus a product of negligence of school at different stages of learning, in spite of his innate capacity to learn.

6) There are some problems very specific to the individual.

7) Health, lack of concentration, less exposure to the subject taught and parental background are some causative factors for slow learning. Talents differ.

Characteristics of slow learner

1. Limited intelligence is the main characteristic of the ‘Slow learner’.

2. In physical appearance they are no different from normal children and therefore likely to get admission into schools for normal children where the curriculum is drawn up to meet the needs of average children. So they find it extremely difficult to cope with the education imparted in these schools, unless special provision is made for them and the curriculum is oriented towards practical and real life activities.

3. They are capable of being educated in ordinary schools and even achieving a moderate degree of success, if they are allowed to proceed at a slower pace and the syllabus is adapted to suit their abilities.

4. But, they will not be able to keep pace with the average children and never be able to learn all the things we expect normal children to master by the time they leave school.

5. They will not be able to go for higher studies despite all the guidance and educational facilities made available to them.

6. They have poor memories. Their attention span is short and they cannot concentrate on one topic for long.

7. They do not easily master skills that are academic in nature, such as the times tables or spelling rules.

8. Perhaps the most frustrating trait is their inability to have long-term goals. They live in the present, and so have significant problems with time management probably due to a short attention span and poor concentration skills.

9. Slow learners are frequently immature in their relations with others and do poorly in school.

10. Secondly, they cannot do complex problems and work very slowly.

11. They lose track of time and cannot transfer what they have learned from one task to another well.

Dealing with slow learners in the classroom:

  • Praise effort, not ability
  • Tell them that hard work always pays off
  • Treat failure as a natural part of learning
  • Don’t take study skills for granted
  • Show students that you have confidence in them

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