Learning Reading: How to Help Frustrated Students

Pressure students to perform, and they quickly become frustrated in the classroom. The case can also be attributed to attention or processing difficulties. There’s more than one reason why a child is frustrated about their classroom learning. If you’re a parent with a child who suffers through it, here’s your guide on how to help frustrated students.

No two learners can be helped by exactly the same strategies. One important thing that teachers and parents should do is assess whether frustration is temporary or has turned into a long-term problem.

Over time, students lose motivation. It leads to anxiety, a lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and a negative attitude towards learning, school, and even reading.

How to Help Frustrated Students

Regardless of the source, the reaction of a parent or teacher to a child experiencing frustration is key. Every student will feel frustrated about learning and reading at some point. And as the adults in their lives, you need to do what you can to make sure reading isn’t a struggle for them as time goes by.

When you model healthy ways of dealing with frustration, students are more likely capable of soothing themselves in the future.

What does frustration look like? Do you have to look for some specific signs?

  • Physical signs: These signs include labored breathing, teeth grinding, or clenched fists. Students can have sweaty palms and bare down excessively when with pens or pencils.
  • Emotional signs: Some students experience frustration through emotional means. They can be quick to anger or appear defensive about receiving help.
  • In the classroom: Some students pace around and find it difficult to say in one place.

Here’s how to help frustrated students.

#1 Model physical techniques that calm emotions

Give a student training on meditative techniques. include modelling deep and slow breathing that help release tension and reinforce calm. Brief walks and some light stretching can also make a difference. Frustration is often lower when students are more relaxed.

#2 Make sure they have a good night’s sleep

Frustration sets in quickly when your child or student is exhausted, hungry, or physically unwell because of particular illnesses. So ensure that they have their basic physical needs met before they even sit down or learn something new, or even attempt cognitively taxing school work.

#3 Guide them towards acknowledgement

Teaching children how to recognize the frustration they’re feeling and by counting to ten can help relieve some of the related stress and anxiety. 

Everyone, after all, gets frustrated from time to time, and there’s no shame in being open about any frustrations you might have. Teachers and parents can share an example of a task that made them feel frustrated, while telling kids strategies about how they dealt with their feelings.

#4 Remind them that it’s temporary

Frustration may cause students to place too much emphasis on task completion. Teachers and parents can remind them that frustration passes, and it’s not worth stressing or getting overly upset about. So really, the key is to stay positive.

#5 Offer alternative ways to complete the task

If the method of a particular task or assignment is what’s causing the frustration, teachers can suggest alternative ways of engaging with learning or demonstrating knowledge. For instance, if the task is to create a written report, you can change it to bullet points or maybe create an oral presentation instead.

#6 Step back and re-evaluate the problem

Students can feel frustrated with one aspect of a problem, but when you step back, you can actually gain much needed perspective. You can suggest they work on a separate part of the assignment or switch to a different task completely for some time. 

This way, you can make it easier to come up with brand new approaches as they return to the original task.

Build Their Confidence: How to Help Frustrated Students

Have your kids do something they’re excellent at. This helps them build up their confidence and feel more in-control and capable again. 

Enrolling children in a reading program, like Dicker Reading, can help boost their confidence as well. Aside from learning how to read, they get live or online one-on-on help from a tutor that works closely with them to discover the source of their frustration and help them overcome it.


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