Establishing a high-quality relationship with a teacher whom they respect is a key element of helping struggling learners. What are some actions that teachers can take to strengthen these relationships?
Here are four simple suggestions:
1. Know their names
This is very important. It is sad that many of us still do not know our student by name after teaching them for a few months. Struggling learners need to know they matter and knowing their names give them some form of recognition.
2. Take a genuine interest in your students.
Learn their interests, hopes, and dreams. Ask them about what is happening in their lives. Often times, students are not given enough time to share. Organise classroom activities such as drawing timeline, vision board, and family tree. Ask students to share in smaller groups. Share some of your own stories, too.
3. Act friendly in other ways.
Smile, joke, and organise fun activities. Organise a tea party and have an informal talk. Share true stories with them. Talk about the latest news and happenings.
4.. Know your students' interest
Sometimes, teachers expect students to like what they like. They bring old songs into the classroom and get upset that students did not enjoy the class. Ask students to bring songs they like. Take time to search the lyrics and discuss.
5. Don't give up on students.
This is easier said than done. Many of these learners really test my patience to the limit. They are only testing your sincerity. After they are convinced that you are there for the long haul and serious about helping them, they would improve.
5. Organise lessons that are relevant to their lives
Teach students skills that they need when they leave school. For example, I organised a Google session, signing up with an e-mail account for those who don't have one. Teach them how to use Excel or get a student expert to share.