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As many of us have discussed, the line between a slow learner and a child

who qualifies for special education services and the services available for
each seem to be backwards. Many, as well as myself, have said, “It
doesn’t seem right that a child who is low in one area gets the help they
need, but a child who struggles in all areas receives no special services. In
researching the topic of a slow learner, I have found this to be correct.
However, there are a number of things we, as teachers, can do to
accommodate the slow learner in our own classrooms.

First, let’s define a slow learner. A slow learner is difficult to identify

because he/she is no different in appearance and can function normally in
most situations. He/she usually has normal physical dexterity, has
adequate memory, and possesses common sense. The fact that a slow
learner possesses these qualities sometimes is why parents find it difficult
to understand how their child can be a slow learner. What they need to
realize is that, although the child has these qualities he/she does not
necessarily have the ability to do school work.

Common characteristics of a slow learner are: their measured intelligence

is 75%-90% of the average child, the ability to read comes about a year
later than most, and the rate at which they learn is 4/5 to 9/10 that of the
normal rate. Abstract thinking is difficult for a slow learner and their
attention span is short. A slow learner reacts slower than average, self-
expression is awkward and self-esteem is low. It is hard to figure things
out themselves, especially if given multiple step instructions. Most slow
learners function below grade level in all subject areas and generally score
consistently low on achievement tests. It may appear that slow learners
are not capable of learning however, Servio Carroll wrote, “slow learners
are handicapped in the regular classroom to approximately the same
degree as students with average abilities when competing with gifted
students.” They are able to learn although the mastery of skills comes
much slower.

On a national level not much is done to accommodate the slow learner.

No special services are provided nation wide, nor are there services
provided at a state or district level. It is up to the teachers and parents to
provide the help needed for slow learners to progress. School
psychologists are available to give advice and inform teachers and parents
of strategies to use to assist slow learners. However, the service is
provided by the classroom teachers. We are fortunate enough in our
school to have a SAP (Student Assistance Program) Team who works very
hard at looking for new strategies and resources to help teachers with
slow learners.
Today a teacher is likely to have three to five students who are slow
learners. So it is very important that we take the time to learn how to
accommodate these students in our classrooms. The goal of helping a
slow learner is not to get them performing at grade level, but to get them
performing at their highest level possible. This level is different for all
students, whether they are a slow learner, average or above average
However, once told that a student does not qualify for special education
services, it is left up to us to help the child with only the help of the SAP
team. Sadly, we are not alone. Someone needs to reach out to these
students and there are numerous strategies and interventions we could
try. A few things I have tried in my own room are the use of volunteers,
peer tutoring and reducing the amount of work required. Volunteers are a
must. We do not have the time to give students the one on one help that
many need. The added adults in the room make it easier to give attention
to those who need extra time or instruction. The volunteers shouldn’t be
used to give initial instruction, but to reinforce what has already been
taught. Peer tutors are great to use in addition to volunteers. Sometimes
by simply placing the right students together in pairs or group situations
you can utilize peer tutoring without drawing attention to the slow learner.
Last, I will reduce the number of spelling words or math problems to name
a few, because this reduces the level of stress and is less likely to
overwhelm the student.

There are several other strategies that are useful. Computers are great to
use in the classroom. Computers never tire or get interrupted making the
drill and practice more effective and fun. It is important to allow the
student time to get out of his/her seat to let off energy and relieve a little
stress. A classroom that utilizes centers is good for this. In giving
instructions you should say the child’s name or touch them before giving
the direction, write the directions on the board or paper for each child to
keep, and ask that the student repeat the direction orally. This helps to
reinforce the direction and gives them something to refer back to if they
forget. Once the student turns in the work or answers orally, provide
immediate feedback. This assures the student of their answer or allows
them to correct the answer and keeps them on task. The hardest, and
probably the most important, strategies is to provide three or four hours of
academic work. Slow learners are not efficient learners and therefore
require more hours of academic instruction to keep pace.

Remember, it is up to us to determine who is a slow learner and to do our

best to meet the needs of slow learners in our classrooms. There are no
special services available for them. So in order to effectively meet their
needs we have to educate ourselves and keep the lines of communication
open with the parents.
Education of Slow Learner


1. Introduction

2. Objectives

3. To identify the causes of slow

4. Learning Illness that cause slow learning

5. Identification of slow leaner in the class

6. Evaluation

7. Language development Problem

8. Reading problem

9. Teaching Spelling

10. Teaching writing

11. Social education


Slow learners are those pupils who have limited ability due to different
reason in the education process. Slow learner is advance word for
“backward” or “mentally retarded” and “Educationally subnormal” (E.S.N.)
There are different reasons for slow learning, some time it is due to their
mental ability, some time it due to their background, illiterate parents,
culture problems, avoiding by the parents in early child hood, between
ages 2 to 6 years. Some time it due to mental illness. These are different
causes of the slow learner.

The purpose of this assignment is to determine the problems of the slow

learners and the methods of education, How to teach them, so they can be
better person of the society.

Objectives of this assignment

2. Identify the causes of slow learning

3. Identification of the slow leaner in the class

4. Problems of slow learner

5. Explorer the method of effective teaching for slow learner


According to experts, children who for various reason, fall behind in their
school work and require special teaching are called (educationally
subnormal) E.S.N.

“Slow learners are children who are doing poorly in school, yet are not
eligible for special education; their intelligence test scores are too high for
consideration as a child with mental retardation” (Mercer, 1996)
(MacMillan, Gresham, Bocian, & Lambros, 1998).

• Although slow learners may have special educational needs, they do not
fit neatly into the special education system (MacMillan, Gresham, Bocian,
& Lambros, 1998).

To identify the causes of slow learning

Showing the sign of slow learner doesn’t mean that the child is slow
learner, there are other factors that could cause the process of slow
Emotional growth

Feelings about one self and the developing of these feeling positive or
negative is called emotional growth, Emotional and social development
are often link together because they are relevant. In the initial stages child
learn the Feelings of trust, fear, and love later on as he grow he develop
the feeling of friendship, pride, and relationship which also guide toward
social-emotional development of the child.. if the child is ignore in this
stage and proper care is not provided to them, they build negative
emotion and they ovoid trust initially parents and later on other people,
they isolated them self from the outer world. Furthermore, a neglected
child, feel him self rejected, and unsecured, it affect the developing skills
of the child to socialize with others children.

In this stage the changes are very rapid in child and every change bring
new change in the behaviour of the child and each change brings about
new skills. Child develop multi skills in this stage, the most important one
is positive feelings about self and trust building with others


Children react to their environment in early stages and he learns from the
environment in which they grow. Create a safe environment for them and
reduce the stress on your child and remove the things which are physical
threats to the children e.g.: abusive behaviour and unsafe toys etc

With whom the child is spending his time, what is their intellectual level.
And how they treat the child, when children have a secure Environment, it
flourishes their abilities in positive direction. Studies show those children
who have better environment show better confidence in life and in

Growth and opportunities of Learning

Opportunities of learning is very necessary for the development of children

cognitive abilities, Parents should provide rich learning environment to
their children and open new windows of learning opportunities for them.
They need simple playable activities and games to develop their brains,
Show them new things and arrange new activities for them to enhance
their thinking skill.


Absenteeism from the school is another factor which can effect the ability
of learning of a child, when a child is often absent from the class, he could
catch with other student in school, he need extra home work with the help
of parents to cover his short coming other wise he lose his self confidence
in class, due to which he isolate himself from his class fellows and he
became a slow learner.

Defective Vision

Defective vision is another possible cause of slow learning, it affect child’s

growth and development and the ability to function in society. It also lead
to effect self-esteem and confidence of the child which could lead to
depression if not treated in early stages and child left behind in the class.

Resource Problem

Without proper Resources parent could not afford to provide better

opportunities of learning to their children due to which the child lose his
self-esteem. Availabilities of good books and other learning material which
is necessary for the learning process of the child.

Illiterate Parents

Another problem in some cases are illiterate parent, those parents who are
mentally backward and also have no education, effect the education of the
child. Initial six years are very important and crucial period of child life, in
this stage development of brain take place. Careful treatment is required
to develop his skills, which help him in the later age in school and college

Untrained Teacher

Untrained teacher is another reason, without proper training a teacher

could not understand the psychology of the child and his problems, what
the possibilities are and why the child is not learning. A train teacher could
understand the problem and eradicate it.

Class Size

Over crowded class is another problem which affects the learning process
and lead to the product of slow learner. Slandered class size should from
twenty to thirty students per class, but student exceed in the class teacher
could not give attention to every student and nor he could evaluate every
student due to that reason some student left behind.

Busy parent or no time for children

When parents have no time for their children and they are busy in their job
it also leads a child to loneliness and isolated. He could not share his
problems with his parents. The problem is much severed in case children
age three to six years, because in this age they need full attention of the
parents. It is the age of their development. They learn many things from
Violence in School

Violence in schools is another factor which causes slow learning in

students. Violence affect the learning abilities of the students, Exposure to
violence is psychologically toxic. This exposure may lead to emotional
problems and aggression, it also effect cognitive, psychological and
learning process

Family Size

Family size also play a major role in the development of the child, in a
small family a child will get attention of the parents and enough resources
will be available to him. In case of large family size, children face many
problems which effect there abilities e.g. emotional problem, resource
problem etc.

Health Problem

Poor Health is also a hurdle in the growth and development of a child,

which lead to the process of slow learning.

Deprived Culture

Evidence show that deprived cultured and Background may also cause the
process of slow learning

Inadequate Teaching Staff

Lack of teachers in school is also a cause of slow learning, due to shortage

of teacher in schools, the student left behind from other students in

Poor Leadership

Poor Leadership on behalf of teacher and head teacher as well as on the

part of parents

Teaching Method

Teaching method is the most important factor in slow learning; a train

teacher can understand the problem of the student and remove that
problem by a better teaching style, which suite to the student need and
mind. A good teacher will always use different methods in class so every
student understand and learn. On the other hand those teachers who use
one method of teaching create slow learner in the class because every
student learn in different style and method.


Students are subjected to inappropriate textbooks, and teaching material.

Course should be design with easy to difficult approach so students
understand what teachers are teaching them. Inappropriate course
material would increase the number of slow learner in the class

Transfer of Teachers

Frequent transfer of teachers leaves no room for the development of

mutual understanding and respect for each other. The moment they start
to understand each other, the teacher is transferred. Once this process is
repeated a few times with a student, the student closes himself to
teachers in future.

Fear Complex

To camouflage their inability teachers grow a fence of fear around them

selves. They resort to indiscriminate punishments resultantly some of the
students run away from schools and the rest become docile with no
interest in education but to spend time aimlessly.

Psychological Problems

Students due to high expectations of their families and absence of

guidance for both the parents and students experience a lot of
psychological stress, which has a retarding effect on their educational

Medium of Instruction

Medium of instruction is also a big problem for some students. Therefore it

is necessary to use mother tongue for the education so student
understand it and they do not lose their precious time on language

Communication Problem

Communication gaps between students, teachers and parents. Due to this

gap neither the teachers nor the parents come to understand the
students, resultantly they enforce upon them their wishes. This
enforcement develops a rebellious or a docile nature in the students,
which retard the positive abilities.

Deprived cultured

Evidence show that deprived cultured background may also cause the

Ilness that cause slow learning

• Alexia

• Dyslexia

• Strephosymbolia

• Other Inherited parents

1. Alexia

Definition: “A language impairment caused by injury to the areas of the

brain that process visual language. In its acœpure “form, the injury
prevents people from being able to read, but not from being able to write.

Also Known As: word blindness, pure word blindness, Text blindness or
visual aphasia.” (Jose Vega M.D., Ph.D)

2. Dyslexia

“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects reading and

spelling. Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in processing word-sounds
and by weaknesses in short-term verbal memory; (SPELLIT Research
Report )

The effects may be seen in spoken language and written language,

Dyslexia tends to run in families

Using structured and multi sensory methods to improve the literacy skills
of E.S.N Students in early ages.

3. Strephosymbolia
strephosymbolia “ A typical symptom of dyslexia in which letters are
transposed, reversed, or confused; more generally a disorder in which
objects are perceived in mirror image” (ANDREW M. COLMAN)

Identification of slow leaner in the class

Early diagnosis of slow learner child is very necessary between the ages of
2 to 6 years. How teacher or parents could identify, that the child is slow
learner, with a careful observation they could easily identified signs of
slow learner,

1.Speech defect

2. Language development problem (broken sentences)

3. Assessments the level of vocabulary ( vocabulary limited)

4. verbal abilities

5. Short sentences, grammatically incorrect

6. Child Behaviour

7. Spelling Mistake

8. Interaction with other children

9. Class room Discussion

10. Reading problem

11. Interest

12. Slow response / decision making

If it is identified that a child is slow learner, proper evaluation should be

done to identify the weakness of the child, the following method can
utilized for the evaluation purpose.

* Intelligence test

* Individuals intelligence test

* The Stanford-binet scale of intelligence test

(The Stanford-Binet intelligence scale is a standardized test that assesses

intelligence and cognitive abilities in children and adults aged two to
twenty three years, determining the presence of a learning disability or a
developmental delay)

* Group test

* Attainment test

* Vocabulary test

* Test of Visual perception

* Spelling test

* Personality test

* Children Behaviour questionnaire

* Diagnostic test in reading and arithmetic

* Assessments of level of vocabulary, verbal abilities

* Attitude and interest

After evaluation and identification of slow learner the questions arise. How
to handle these types of children in school environment?

How to teach them? What type of class they need?

Expert suggest that student should be not increase from 20 in class and
different style of teaching has been suggested for different subject

Language Development Problem

Slow learner show the sign of slow learning in very begging during infancy,
when child try to talk, parents should carefully observe the child and if
they find that child is not able to talk they should contact doctor to find the
reason, because early diagnosis in the initial 2-6 years good for the
betterment of the child and step could be taken to improve the mental
condition of the child, through medical care or psychological. The sign of
language development problem in initial age are;

* Speech defect: speech problem child will be not able to pronounce

correct word,

* Vocabulary limited: child will use Limited word for expression

* Short sentences

* Some children will not understand some words

How to improve the language development problem of the child in school

· Teacher should pronounce the word clearly for the student and ask the
student to repeat the word

· Teacher should used visual aid, it would help the student to understand it
easily and memories it for long time

· Teacher should used flash cards for teaching Difficult words

· Use of memory cards and memory games

· Class room Discussion

· Stories-telling should be encouraged in class

· Dramatic activities

· Oral question and answer and understand them

· The ability to recognise Different pictures

· Listening and understanding skills should be developed

· Reading with meaning

Reading Problem

There are different method of teaching for reading problem, how to
teach to a group or class of students. Expert suggest multiple teaching
style because each student learn through different method, some student
could learn better with one method, other will learn with other method.
Teacher should be aware of the individual differences, For teaching
reading to slow learner the following method should be used:

Teacher should use Charts to teach Words to E.S.N students.

Teacher can also used Memory flash cards,

Reading with meaning, is good method with which child easily

understand and remember it.

Reading stories, collecting magazines, news papers and discus them in

the class room

Pictures on wall with the stories can also help slow learner to
remember and understand a word

Reading readiness workbook

Through activities, reading activates can also help in reading process

Visual activities, include TV and computer can help

finding missing parts

Memory games

Reading for information

Computer games, the best method for teaching reading process.

These interactive games not only help slow learner in their reading
process but it also help to increase their quick decision making ability.

Reading Material:

Reading material should be selected keeping in view the interest of the

student in mind. Chose difficulty level from easy to difficult approach (age

Teaching Spelling,

Spelling are very necessary for slow learner, because it help to form a
word, a good speller well always be a good reader and writer , therefore
teacher should give attention to teaching spelling to the students.

Teacher should write a word on board and ask to the student to write it
in air, teach them the spelling in parts, so they know the sound of the

Competition of spelling between the students,

Check recheck method

Weakly test for spelling,

spelling games on computer, typing tutor game on computer

Teaching writing

Teaching writing require reading, understanding and spelling capabilities,

if a student is good in these, he can learn writing easily, following are the
few method which could be used for teaching of writing;

Encourage their writing, ignore their mistake in early stages

In early stages students write short sentences and grammatically

incorrect sentences

Involve student in writing small stories

engage student in form filling, latter writing and Telegram according to

their age

Involve students in form filling, diaries writing

Computer base writing games, where short answer are required for
playing games.

Writing in school magazine, newspaper etc

At later time attention to the grammar, punctuation and full stop.

Social education
Social education is also very necessary for the slow learner; teacher and
parent should give full attention to the social education of E.S.N. how to
cross the road, how to reach home and other small thing that could help
him in day to day life. It is not only the responsibility of a teacher to teach
these things to slow learner but it is also the responsibility of parents too.

Teacher and parents should also involve other people to help these
students e.g.

* Psychologist of the school

* Friends

* School doctor/nurse

* Other social agencies