How can I help my struggling student with his online classes?
1. Begin with only one course. We strongly recommend starting the student with only one course, unless he is accustomed to completing large amounts of advanced classwork.
2. Plan to complete each assignment. A structured online class may require a great deal of time for the struggling student, so you may wish to reduce his other coursework while he is enrolled in the online academy. You may also need to minimize his extracurricular activities during the online course. Help him set aside sample time outside of class to work on his online course homework, so every assignment can be completed.
3. Plan for listening to lessons more than once. The student with auditory processing, comprehension, or memory difficulties may need more than one period of exposure to the content, especially as the pace quickens in any given class. Explain to the student that he must allow time for additional viewings of the class recording later in the week.
4. Expect to be a teacher’s aide for your student. “Shadow” the class and assist by providing accountability with assignments, visual aids, and added explanations to promote understanding.
5. Express respect for the teacher. Even if differences arise, communicate respect for the teacher when speaking in front of the student. Provide a “unified front.” Note the teacher’s strong points in discussions. Encourage the student to express respect and gratitude to his teacher.
6. Keep a portfolio for the student. Note his progress frequently! The student may become discouraged if he compares himself to other students. Help him measure his success based on his own accomplishments, talents, and individual performance.
7. Stay the course! Even if you decide that the student will not re-enroll, help him finish what he starts. This will provide valuable lessons that will assist him in any endeavor.
Originally published in The Classical Teacher Spring 2016 edition.