Updated on September 15, 2018 Alianess Benny Njuguna moreContact Author Not all children perform at the same capacity in a class. A group of children perform below average, others perform at the expected level while another group performs beyond the expectation. It does not mean those who perform below average are stupid or fools as some adults may tend to label them. Understanding why some children perform below average will arm an adult with knowledge as the the reasons, thus enabling the adult to brainstorm mechanics or techniques on how assist the child to perform better in school’s subjects. The children who perform below average are termed as slow learners. They grasp information at a low pace and they complete school’s tasks at a snail speed. Consequently, there is a need for parents and teachers to find out whether their children and/or learners are slow learners. This is because when the teacher or parent has identified whether his/her child/pupil is a slow learner, then the approach of teaching the child will be different from the way average learners are taught.
Who is a slow learner? A slow learner is a child or pupil who is able to learn educational skills but a rate and depth below average as compared to the child’s peers – average learners – in the class. Normally, learners have an IQ of 85-115. Learners who have an IQ below 70 are termed as having intellectual disability. A slow learner has not reached the level of being termed as having intellectual disability (mental retardation). Some of the characteristics of slow learners is that they have a hard time grasping new concepts quickly even though they tend to work hard. They usually go out of their way to solve challenging mathematical calculations and subjects which are beyond their capabilities. They exhibit low self-esteem due to the knowledge they do not perform well which might lead them to drop out. NOTE: Slow learners should not be confused with reluctant learners. A slow learner wants to learn and works hard to perform well but he/she never seems to reach the mark.
On the other hand, a reluctant learner is a child who create problems in class since he doesn’t want to learn, thereby he is not willing to co-operate with his/her teacher. A few reluctant learners have learning disabilities. They lack social skills thus find it difficult interacting with other children or adults.This is attributed to their low IQ levels. In addition, they don’t understand the rules of social engagement. Even though they like talking to people, they find it difficult in starting a conversation. This is attributed to their shyness which stems from low self-esteem. They find it difficult maintaining friendships. It is hard for them to understand simple skills, for example, taking turns in performing a particular project or task. They are poor in mathematics and find it hard to solve mathematical problems. Their reading and comprehension is poor. Their thinking and reasoning capacity is poor. They have poor memory and auditory processing. They have short attention span and lack focus. Their response time is slow. A slow learner needs somebody to learn and/or do assignments together. On their own, they are unable to learn or complete assignments. Has immature personal relationships.
They don’t have long-term goals. They always live in the present. They perform poorly in examinations or tests. They have low self-esteem. They work on given projects or tasks at a slow pace. They are not able to master skills. They cannot do complex problems or tasks. They have difficulty transferring what they have learned from one assignment to another. They lose track of time. They have problem with time management. They are slow in forming relations between words and phrases. They lack innovation and creativeness. They find it difficult to think critically. They tend to prefer the friendship or company of younger children. Some slow learners have a problem with speech. Teaching is a demanding profession. It requires patience coupled with creativeness. If and when a teacher identifies a child performing below average, then the teacher should try to find ways of guiding and helping the child to perform well.