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Realise their hidden potential

DR. VIVEK SHARMA

Poor academic performance need not necessarily predict failure in life. There may be several reasons behind it.

Photo : Sandeep Saxena

Nothing to fear: Every one a winner.

When everyone grows up
A Grade students work for the B
students!
C-students run all the
businesses,
And D-students are politicians
dedicating buildings and bridges
to the nation.

Schooling does not nurture the entire potential of a child. However, the goal of education is primarily to create competent, confident and self-reliant citizens.

A remarkable performance in school tests need not assure future success in life and conversely poor school performance may not predict failure either. But parents and teachers put in their best to help the child excel. Despite this, 20-25 per cent of students continue to remain low performers academically.

To help these students, it is mandatory that parents and teachers familiarise themselves with the causes for low academic performance before labelling them “lazy”, “Duffer” or “Careless”.

Some reasons

Low Intelligence: Children with poor intelligence, mild and moderate mental retardation are slow learners. Their brain development may be inadequate. It is easy to detect such children because they are late to reach all milestones. It is possible for educational psychologist to assess their I.Q. and determine their mental level.

Physical Impairment: Many children with short sight or other eye problems may not be able to read from the black board or book. Children with hearing impairment may not hear the teacher.

Behavioural Problem: Many children with conduct problems score low marks even though they may be intelligent. Some children dislike school. While some may be emotionally unstable due to reasons like anxiety, depression others may be defiant or disobedient.

Environmental Problems: Causes like poor discipline at home or school, separation and divorce of parents, illness of a family member, alcoholism and drugs, poverty, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, frightening friends, teacher-student mismatch, frequent change of school or medium of instruction and so on can lead to low school performance.

Medications and long-term illnesses: Continuous use of certain medicines like anti-allergic, antiepileptic, anti-asthmatic, alcohol and recreational drugs can cause poor school performance. Long-term illness like asthma, epilepsy, after effects of head injury, brain problem, birth sequele, anaemia, chronic lead ingestion and other chronic illness can result in poor performance.

Attention Deficit Disorder: Attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neuro-behavioural disorder affecting children. It is characterised by inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity that impairs child functioning at home, at school and with peers. On an average one child in every classroom is affected.

Learning Disabilities: Among all the causes of poor marks the major cause is learning disability. Children with learning disability are usually quiet, intelligent, have problem with ‘academic skills’. Academic skills are essential for schooling and comprise reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, language etc. These children are able to answer orally but are not able to write out the answer. This explains the poor marks.

How do you deal with these poor school performers?

Madam Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

Unless the teacher or parent is aware of all these causes, children who perform badly get labelled as duffer, lazy, stupid or careless.

Therefore when you are confronted with a child performing poorly in class, check out each of the causes.

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