Tips to Cover Syllabus in Time with Slow Learners

As teachers, we always have challenges of completing the syllabus in time. In this post, we share the tips and tricks teachers can employ so as to cover the syllabus in time and also help the slow learners comprehend the content.
Slow learners are all the students or pupils who learn at a rate a little behind their peers. Slow learners are not disabled in any way but simply learn at a rate less than their peers and most of all the may have extra ordinary lives outside class.

1. Ask for Help

Seek help from fellow teachers who may be able to help especially in co-teaching. This boosts the learners confidence. The teacher may also adopt a system where another colleague teacher recaps the lesson-points after the lesson, just to get the learners to understand what was taught and also improve their concentration.

2. Use Creativity

Use of creative tools such as board games and worksheets or pamphlets. These can be used in preprimary and primary. For post primary, the teacher may use computer simulations, and worksheets. These visually graphic sheets and tools act as constant reminders of the lessons.

3. Be Patient

Be patient with slow learners as they  have cognitive skills that are weak and slow learning speeds. In addition to having low attention span, these learner easily get distracted, thus a teacher has to be patient and also try as much as they can to emphasis keywords and points.

4. Reward Learners for Small Achievements

Encouraging slow learners also boosts their confidence, especially when they are recognized and rewarded for their little participation.
A teacher can also teach these learners special skills such as keywords, relationships of objects with things. By teaching them the right things and rewarding for their little achievements, the teacher will cover the syllabus faster.

5. Use Peer-Study-Groups

Teachers can adopt peer study groups where learners teacher each other. In the presence of their peers, learners are usually free to ask questions and share knowledge.
In fact, studies have shown that whenever a teacher assigned peer-study-group tasks on what had been covered, the syllabus was covered faster. This is because the learners read more and made new discoveries ahead of peers who didn’t have study groups.

6. Give Little Homework / Assignments

Provide minimum homework by focusing on specific topics or sub topics. Slow learners are easily distracted. As such minimum homework ensures that they accomplish the small tasks given and achieve results.

7. Create Private Sessions

Reprimand the slow learners in private.
In the presence of other learners,  and due to their  low self-confidence, slow learners tend to develop life long complications. Therefore, a teacher should create private sessions to clarify the wrongs and help them deal with confidence issues in the subject area.

8. Avoid Emphasising the Negatives

Avoid emphasis the negative and encourage the positive, for example if a learner is able to identify or distinguish items praise them. However, if they fail ask someone to help them and remind them the correct answer.

9. Ask More Questions

Ask more questions and repeat the answers back. Explaining the answers and how it relates to the questions and the subject matter, ensures that the slow learners grasp the idea and the other learners don’t lose interest.

10. Use Movies, Films and Sound

Using movies, films and sound enable slow learners learn things better. Its an undeniable fact that something seen visually is more memorable, to recoup. For example, in a novel reading class, a teacher may give learners family trees, timelines of plots.

11. Use of Summaries

Use of summaries where a teacher summaries the main points of the topic or subtopic that has been taught. These show the slow learners what they should focus on to improve their cognitive skills.

12. Use Notes, Guides / Handouts

By using notes guides commonly called handouts the teacher can cover the syllabus in time. Here the teacher writes out the notes in a summary form ensuring that its as detailed as possible for fast learners while also summarized enough for the slow learners to skim though.


These tips work well when the teachers are so open minded and don’t believe in the limitations of the school environment.
For example a teacher who has seen the challenges of private teaching can easily encourage the pivotal role of peer study groups, which have worked successfully in university and many post primary schools.
However, we should also note that many of these tips may need a collective action by both teachers and parents. Good parents are always much aware of their children’s abilities and challenges.
In order to help such learners, a teacher has to adopt a variety of approaches in order to cover the syllabus in time. A prudent teacher can use the tips listed above in combination with their own time-tested tricks.


Written by Steith






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