How to handle dull student and make them first class students

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In the school where I teach, both the junior and senior category have five arms ranging from A-E. So Js 1 has A-E the same as Js 2 and so on.

The students are placed in various classes according to their academic performance at the end of the academic year.
Each class has a total number of about 30 students each, so the best 30 students are placed in class A, the next 30 students, that is from 31 to 60 in class B, and so on. So those in class E are seen as the dullest students.

Although, the reason why the school took this decision is not to spite the “ so-called dull students” but to enable them to learn at their own pace and to have a sense of humor, and also not be intimidated by the brilliant ones.

Now each of the classes has a teacher assigned to it to monitor the students. I will say that I was privileged to be assigned to one of the E classes. I monitored them closely and observed that they were not as dull as we thought. The major problem most of them had was that they do not study their books.

So I started to encourage them. Every day I will remind them that they are far better than their mates in A-class and can do better if they studied very hard.

Then I went further to select study partners from their mates in A class for them. And, also mandated those in A to give me reports on those who refused to study. Of course, it is not all of them that will study. But the ones who wanted to improve in their academic performance took it seriously.

From some of the reports that I get from those in A-class, they said; the students always asked them to assist them in pronouncing some words. And also ask them questions in the area that they do not understand.
This method helped most of the students in my class. And at the end of the term, some of them did far better than those in C class.

When I was in secondary school, I was a science student. So those of us in the sciences always formed songs and poems with the definitions of various topics. And this helped us a lot. All those definitions which we composed into songs and poems are still in my head 20 years after.

For instance, below is the table of the first 20 elements of the periodic table with their symbols and atomic numbers.
Atomic Number Element Symbol
1 Hydrogen H
2 Helium He
3 Lithium Li
4 Beryllium Be
5 Boron B
6 Carbon C
7 Nitrogen N
8 Oxygen O
9 Fluorine F
10 Neon Ne
11 Sodium Na
12 Magnesium Mg
13 Aluminium Al
14 Silicon Si
15 Phosphorus P
16 Sulfur S
17 Chlorine Cl
18 Argon Ar
19 Potassium K
20 Calcium Ca

Not every student can memorize all the elements. So to help us remember them during exams because in chemistry you can not do without elements. We formed a poem with the elements. See poem below

He has a light brain but can not offer fully nine subjects, Mr. Albert silly physics students came after prince Charles.
The He represents Hydrogen
The Has represents Helium
The light represents Lithium
The brain represents Beryllium
But represents Boron
Can represent Carbon
Not represents Nitrogen
Offer represents Oxygen
Fully represents Fluorine
Nine represents Neon
Subject represents Sodium
Mr represents Magnesium
Albert represents Aluminum
Silly represents Silicon
Physics represents Phosphorus
Students represent Sulfur
Came represents Chlorine
After represents Argon
Prince represents Potassium
Charles represents Calcium

This is also a great way to help dull students. Make them form songs and poems with definitions of some topics, most especially the difficult ones.

I see teachers who discourage the dull students, insult and call them names such as blockhead, Olodo, and then they will tell them A as big as this classroom you do not know. These words can demoralize these students. It is just very few students who go all out to prove their teachers wrong.

The best way to motivate these students is to encourage them. Keep telling them how great they are. Keep telling them how they are better than the so-called brilliant ones.

Even when they fail, tell them they can do better. You can use a cane sometimes. Most especially on those who have deliberately refused to make an effort, because even the Bible encourages us to use a cane sometimes as it one of the ways to drive away foolishness in a child.

But while using a cane, do not instill fear in the students. These students understand the difference between flogging with love and flogging in anger. And if they detect that it is the latter, they become afraid, and your aim may be defeated.
Did I mention to you that some of the dull students in my class were promoted to A, B, C, and D classes at the end of the academic year? After implementing some of the methods I mentioned above, at the end of the academic year, some of them were promoted to A class, some to B, and so on.

However, not all of them were promoted to other classes. Like I said earlier, no matter what you do, you will still find the unserious ones. This doesn’t mean that we should give up on them. You can use other measures.

You can download videos from youtube on some topics as these students are very attracted to such things. They pay apt attention when they watch videos. I have observed that watching videos helps them a lot to understand and remember a topic.

Some students are not very good at reading and writing. I have also observed that these students who are not good with reading and writing are very good with a craft. You can encourage them in that direction. You will be amazed at how best they will turn out.

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