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How to Teach Chemistry to Weak Students

Chemistry is a very easy subject, but most of the students find it often hard to understand. It’s not difficult to learn chemistry, though it is tough to teach it. Unfortunately, most of the time, the teacher’s way of teaching chemistry is always wrong when the students get it ominously. There are some specific skills, which should be followed while teaching chemistry. The teaching ideas we will present in this article are very much applicable when dealing with weak students.

“The things that the weak students always demand from a teacher no matter which subject is being taught, is attention and motivation.”

Present Chemistry Concepts Clearly

A Chemistry teacher should be very clear about the topic before teaching it. As a teacher you should know what really matters and what doesn’t.

Clarity of concepts will depend so much on how you prepare, and how you deliver it to the students.  Try to relate concepts to what your learners know.

For instance, when describing an ionic bond to adult students,  a teacher may relate the concept to a ‘boy-girl friendship’.

And even if the students are weak, it is the responsibility of an instructor to respect all the students and meet all their academic needs equally.

Familiarize with the Content and Practice on Solving the Chemistry Problems

The teacher should do enough practice before delivering a lecture to the chemistry class. Once you are clear about any concept, you can deliver it effectively. Also, plan your lecture and some activities to involve the class. This will be helpful in making learning to be easy and fun.

Search for examples  and arrange them in the order of difficulty. Also, know how you will relate the examples and concepts with the daily phenomena.

Examples from daily life help the weak students in grabbing a concept more quickly.

Conduct Activity Games

You can conduct some activity games to better learning process. If you want to start teaching them about gases, the best way is to make bubbles from food coloring and soap. Blowing bubbles to taking a bubble bath and setting it on fire to show the air pockets inside.

To give the idea of the reactions between the elements, you can tell them to make some play dough. Now take them to get some flour, salt and water and make clay. Take some sugar and food coloring and make rock candy. Show them how to make long crystals versus short crystals using food coloring.

Teach Chemistry as Fun

Teach chemistry as it is, fun. Most of the teachers wrongly potray the subject to the learners. The students end up thinking that chemistry is a difficult  and rough subject, which is not really the case.

Instead, tell the students that it is totally a fun subject. Like the periodic table can be easily learned in rhythms.

Similarly, the concept of bonding can be interpreted in various interesting ways. To make the electronic configuration easier, you can form an energy pyramid of subshells for the students to visualize. Then you can let them shell will come first or be lost during ionisation.

Strengthen the Basics

The weak students in chemistry usually have had a poor foundation on the general sciences. The teacher should make sure that all the students have enough knowledge about basic algebra, fractions, thermodynamics, and related topics that are helpful to learn chemistry.

If the student is weak in the basic formulas, how could he easily understand the chemical equations?

For the students that have difficulty, polish their basics and make them practice more and more.

Use lots of Practical Demonstrations to Teach Concepts

Since chemistry is usually seen as a more abstract subject, as a teacher, try to make it more practical. Use practical demonstrations to help the weak students to easily visualize the concepts.

A lot of practicals will make the subject more fun and get the learners to be involved.

Use Audio-Visuals / Animations / Videos in Teaching

A teacher can download audivisuals, animations and videos to help in teaching chemistry. Students enjoy watching animations as opposed to the usual day-in-day-out ordinary board.

The internet is full of teaching resources to aid you in any chemistry concept. For instance, when teaching ‘the extraction of iron metal’, simple google the specific areas of concern in the topic. You could search for the pictures of the different ores of iron, or video animations on the industrial extraction process, etc.

Involve Other Chemistry Colleague Teachers

Some times students become weak in chemistry as a result of their negative attitude towards the subject. Bringing in new or different teachers to teach may help to change the student’s attitude.

Teachers usually have different personalities and teaching approaches. So, if the personality and approach of a given teacher wasnt lively to the students, a different teacher could help.

Get Student Feedback and Suggestions On the Subject

To enhance the learner-centered teaching/learning approach, encourage the learners to give you feedback. The students can suggest through writing or discussions the best methods and ways of teaching that will favour them.

Use Motivational Rewards

Whenever the weak students get a concept correctly, reward them. Use rewards that will encourage them in the subject. Take for instance, a student answers a correct question on mole concept, give them a mole tag that has positive previleges.

In addition to motivation, inspire the learners to have a positive attitude. Talking positively to them helps change them change their perception.

Group Weak Chemistry Students with the Strong Ones

Teachers are used to grouping weak students alone from the strong ones. To help the weak students, incorporate the strong students with the weak ones. The strong students will help in teaching the weak ones. This is taking advantage of student teaching.

The above methods when correctly modified and applied, will greatly help the weak students to understand chemistry well.

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