Students learn in many different ways. Never assume that a child is failing because he or she does not care. If a student is failing, take a moment to assess the learning environment and lesson plan. Ask yourself, "What are the possible reasons a student is failing? What accommodations can be made to help a failing student?" There are many teaching strategies that can help all students achieve.
Establish a routine. Start every class with a routine. Motivate students with a warm-up that relates to the new lesson or reviews old lessons, such as a daily edit. You have heard the old saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it." Reinforce past skills to keep students' minds sharp while introducing new lessons. Show students their progress with mini pre-assessments at the beginning of class and mini post-assessments at the end of class. Stick to a schedule so students know what to expect.
Individualize instruction. After you have taught your lesson, assess where your students are. Some students may need re-teaching strategies to review the core lesson. Other students may need enrichment activities that build upon the core lesson. A manila folder with each student's name is a great way to keep the paperwork organized. If you notice a student who is not catching on, use the manila folders to place small re-teaching exercises for the student to do. The re-teaching exercises should focus only on one concept at a time from the lesson. Make sure to monitor the folders daily and assist the student as needed with the assignments.
Modify assignments. Break the lesson up into different tasks. Students work at different paces and some students may need assignments broken up into smaller parts in order to complete the task. Use group lessons and peer tutoring to encourage other students. Recognize what they already know and keep the content meaningful by connecting it to their prior knowledge.
Use different teaching methods. Some students are great auditory learners and can pick anything up from a lecture. Other students are visual learners that need to see it written down to understand it better. Some students learn the best through a hands-on experience. Try to incorporate as many different teaching methods in your lesson as possible.
Watch behavior. Do not assume a student is failing because he chooses not to behave. Some students misbehave because they are bored, or they want to divert attention away from the fact that they do not understand the work. Try to give these students individualized attention and work that they can do.
Students who are failing might need individualized assignments or more re-teaching exercises to truly understand a new concept. Schoolwork should be meaningful, motivating, and connect to prior knowledge. The learning environment should be designed so students have the opportunity to practice past skills and new skills. Students want to know what to expect, and most students want to learn. Making a few accommodations will help students have a successful school year.