The Classroom-You Can Build A Star From An Underachiever
- October 17, 2022
- Posted by: Ushauri
- Category: Academics Institutions
Case Study: Gregory is a student in form three. According to most teachers, he is a young boy who rarely participates in class meaningfully. More often than not, his teachers have observed him to be a student who easily gets bored in class, does not do his homework on most occasions and frequently fails his class assignments and term tests. His parents, like his Teachers, are very worried. Gregory does not feel good about himself either. At school, hardly a day goes by, without Gregory being cited for one form of misbehavior or the other. Teachers also suspect he has poor self drive and study habits. They are quickly losing hope in him.
An underachieving student is the one who fails to achieve his or her potential or does not do as well as expected.
One of the most exigent aspects of being a teacher today is helping all students (including students like Gregory) achieve optimal learning irrespective of their abilities. Optimal learning being the conceptual understanding and the ability to apply knowledge to new problems, learning, and creations, seems to be elusive especially where some seem not to take a keen interest in class or their learning.
The big question in our classrooms today is; how do you handle or assist underachieving students? Can these students be turned into stars or is their underachieving inescapable?
The Ushauri Mentors’ team of experts examined student underachievement and this is what they had to say about students like Gregory.
According to Education Psychologist, Victoria Mukite, “Gregory is a classic case of an underachieving student. Every class day seems to dig this student deeper into the hole of failure.” The Education Psychologist says that while underachievement can mean different things to different people, teachers are likely to come across learner(s) like Gregory, whose performance falls below expectations, seem to struggle with their studies and often lag behind academically. She defines an underachiever as a person and especially a student who fails to achieve his or her potential or does not do as well as expected.
There are two types of underachieving students, one who, despite being an underachiever, puts in a lot of effort in his or her studies, participates in class, does homework and still fails. Gregory falls under the second type of an underachiever who puts no or little effort in academics.
The effects of underachievement affect both the teacher and the underachieving student. Most underachieving students get their teachers concerned and frustrated. The underachiever may be concerned too. If continuous, it leads to repeating lessons or classes, which kills the oomph in such students.
At home parents or guardians get upset too, this affects the students further and he/she lose self-confidence and become insecure. This pushes them to start misbehaving, become disinterested, and lose the motivation to want to try harder.
Borderline students in terms of performance also risk being pulled down to join the underachiever.
Factors that breed underachievement include;
- School Factors like absenteeism, boredom due to lack of creativity in teaching and learning, mismatched curriculum to students needs and lack or minimal time and resources to modify the curriculum to serve their needs, peer group issues, teacher attitudes and expectations and a poor academic environment.
- Family factors like lack of boundaries at home, unclear behavioural expectations, disorganized family environment, lack of parental support or involvement, mixed messages from parents or guardians and/ or minimal emphasis on academics.
- Individuals also breed underachievement when they lack clear goals, focus on negativities, have a poor self concept, fear failure, lack self management skills, self discipline and self direction.
- Psychologically, most underachievers experience a lot of pain, disappointment and frustration. Some try to escape from this pain by adopting a don’t care attitude towards academics, dropping out of school or avoiding any academic tasks.