Empower Indifferent Students into Well-grounded Students

student empowerment-student learning
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Please I need help. I can’t stand it when my pupils can’t read fluently. Seriously its bringing me down. I notice that some are not interested in school, while others
that are trying their best are not really what I want them to be. Please help a
concern teacher before I loose my self-esteem. What should I do to bring out of
the best out of my pupils? I use demonstration and storytelling method and I
make sure I’m not the only one talking when teaching, I carry them along. This
minute, they understand and they next minute they have forgotten, it affects
their last term’s performance. I need help, teaching is what I choose not for
money but passion. Please help me before I lose my passion for teaching.

This case is typical- many teachers recount stories like this of their students. Sometimes, teachers are tasked with teaching indifferent students- who show up day in day out absent-minded - with low grades.

The following Those Students Need You(TSNY) prescriptions are intended for teaching indifferent students and shaping them into well-grounded students. Prescriptions- 1 looks into the lack of interest in school that these students display and follow ways to develop a passion for learning in these students. Presciption-2 looks into how to make sure that the passion the students now have, can be channelled into shaping them into well-grounded students. 


P-1-1 Charter Unfamiliar Subjects

One of the best ways to foster students passion for learning is to never stop teaching them new things for reasons including- 1) New things are interesting 2) Even though the chances of failing in unfamiliar subjects is high, with self-confidence, failure can be seen as a chance to learn 3) success in such subjects can boost students confidence. New things have a way of charging students to do better even when they don’t seem to be ready so long as the student’s potential is considered and growth mindset is fostered.

The growth mindset is a belief that you have the ability to grow, and become better than you currently are and there are no limits to the possibilities that abound for you. Research shows that fostering a growth mindset can foster passion for learning new things:

Recognizing the student’s current emotions is important Emotions such as sadness, happiness, distress and boredom can tell a lot about a student and how he can be helped. For instance, when a student that is usually happy is currently sad, the earlier you pay attention and help that student become happy again the better. Also, when a student is bored, this shows that the student needs more fun content, providing fun would keep the student motivated. Recognizing a student current emotion can give you a clue on how to work on that emotion in a way that could foster a student’s passion for charting unfamiliar subjects.

Keep Students’ attention When teaching students make sure you have their undivided attention. One of the ways to foster growth mindset is to keep the attention of students in spite of what they are currently going through.

Make classes competitive Make your students love healthy competition- pitch students against each other, use timers when you give them classwork and reward those who meet up. Healthy competitions feed on effort, build resilience and can foster a growth mindset.

Watch out for negative emotions especially in the beginning of a class. For example, avoid making students unhappy say by beating them before your class begins. A crying, unhappy, negative student would not likely pay attention.

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P-1-2 Teach To Influence

In the Book “Those Students need You” the SMP Method underpins this prescription. S.M.P in the SMP method is Support, Mentor and Partner. There are some instances where you want to judge a student- Don’t! or Lecture a Student, Don’t! or Compete with a student by magnifying yourself in his eyes and others- don’t!

Instead, support not Judge, Mentor not Lecture and Partner not Compete. To support means to provide encouragement in a way that makes the person feel that he is not alone. To mentor means to provide ideas that is full of solution and wisdom, to partner means to work hand in hand for that person. The S. M.P method is very handy in influencing students and fostering passion for learning.

P-1-3 Teach Values that foster Learning

Intelligence plus character, they say is the goal of true education. Teaching students important values such as resilience, determination and responsibility is a great way to foster a passion for learning.

When students imbibe these values, it builds their character and fosters their ability and motivation.


P-2-1 Acknowledge the root of the problem: Lack of Passion for Learning

Learning is hard. Without a passion for learning, students can’t be well-grounded- but once passion for learning is achieved, a lot can happen depending on the students’ potential and mindset.

Why do students lose interest in learning- after having built prior interest? If you ask me, I would say a lot of reasons can be responsible for that but on the top of the list of possible reason is a lack of motivation.


As they say, motivation doesn’t last, that’s why it is recommended daily. Motivating students should be a daily and deliberate task and it shouldn’t be left to chance. Motivation fuels action, ability and achievements. It is a mental force that induces action and creates will power. To influence students’ motivation, you could redirect their “WHY” or their reason for learning and aspiring to reach their potential. You may also need to change the students’ self-image and channel their current motivation. Also, getting students’ to move – as in some vigorous exercise – works wonders.

P-2-2 Teach Mastery not just Knowledge

It is always amazing to see students who are so brilliant that they seem to know a subject or topic deeply. Mastery always makes students confident and open to learning new things.

One technique that works wonders is The Feynman Technique because it helps brilliant and not so brilliant students know better by teaching what they know to others or paying more attention to a topic or content until it is mastered. 


It is based on teaching the student to understand something well by using simple language to explain a rather complex topic or in his own words such as in his personal notebook or by teaching others. This means providing resources for the student to write his notes in his own words whether in his school notes-if applicable and if not- in notes reserved for private study. 


1.   Spend more time fostering their passion for learning than actually teaching. Make a list of new things they could learn from a new topic and show them how it relates with the said topic in a way that fosters the growth mindset.

2. When students disappoint you as they sometimes will, refuse the urge to judge them, support, Lecture and Compete with them. Instead, support, Mentor and Partner with students has you put them back on track.

3. Make a list of values that your students must learn in order to develop real passion for learning and plan out ways for you to teach these values. If you can, be elaborate about your plans so everyone can see how important these values are.

4. Look out for what keeps your students motivated and feed it. If you can’t feed it perhaps because it is an illicit or wrong choice or motivation, then redirect it. Find out -what makes your students tick? When do they do things right? What kinds of encouragement, rewards and reinforcements work best? It is important you know the answers to these questions, and above all, use it!

5. Have you ever tried the Feynman Technique?  You should! The technique is especially helpful because it can foster a student’s ability to understand difficult concepts as reading in his words further promotes recall, understanding and reduces forgetfulness.



2 Responses

    • Thanks for your question. Patience is the word. At times, kids especially those below age 7 don’t like to be rushed. He has found a love for learning things by heart, don’t force him to love writing too. He may lose interest in both entirely and become an energy drainer. Instead inspire a love for writing in a way that could pique his interest and then be patient. Watch him blossom into a well-grounded student.

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