slow learner



This study focused on the Problem of teaching slow learner in upper Primary school  in ------------------ local government area. The researcher's main objective was to find out how slow learners   are being assisted at upper primary school levels, the challenges, if any, which are being faced by the teachers in assisting these slow learners as well as the slow learners' perspectives towards the assistance they are being given by their mathematics teachers. A descriptive survey was used to collect the data where the instruments used to collect the data were teachers' questionnaires as well as students interview guides. The data were then presented in the form of tables and were analyzed. The results of the research were intriguing. The most commonly used method as claimed by the teachers is the use of a variety of learning techniques to suit the different learning styles, followed by the method of breaking down of complex tasks into easy tasks. This is followed by modifying language used to match the understanding level of the slow learners. The least used method is moving at a slow rate when teaching so as to accommodate the slow learners' rate of thinking. The biggest challenge all teachers are facing is the class size which is too large for the them to carter for slow learners, limited time since time table is fully packed, fear of being falsely accused of having an affair with students as well as child molestation, pupils' fear of the subject as well as frequently changing teachers every term. From the pupils' point of view, the findings showed that the teachers are not offering sufficient help to slow learners in their classes. In other words they claim to help them but they are not. From this study the researcher recommends all mathematics teachers to try by all means to assist these slow learners in any way they can so as to help them improve in mathematics. It is also recommended that teachers should move slowly at the rate of slow learners when teaching them so that every child understands. The researcher also recommends the Ministry of Education to make a follow up on the remediation program which was introduced so as to monitor progress on the learning of slow learners as this might help increase the pass rate.  








 Background to the Study

The biggest challenge any  teacher has in the classroom is teaching slow learners. It is an admitted fact that every class in any school is composed of about 20% to 30% or more slow learners, that’s according to Yusha’u 2012. Slow learners do not necessarily fall into the category of special education children since these students are usually found doing well in some areas outside the classroom. In other words such students don’t show any evidence of having a medical problem; they simply perform poorly in Mathematics as a subject.

More and more studies have shown that not all students learn quickly in the classroom. This is why Singh (2014) alludes that, “...a good teacher should always give individual attention to slow learners…” as this helps them identify the different problems faced by each student as well as to come up with solutions to these identified problems.

According to Williams (2010), slow learners lack in understanding, comprehension and expression but studies have shown that nowadays secondary schools are emphasizing largely on academic preparation other than on occupational learning. Because of this situation Yusha’u (2012) opines that there is growing need for help to remedy slow learners so as to  provide them the best possible opportunities to close the gap created by their peers and meet the challenging world.

Teague (2011) in his study opines that the major cause of low performance   from Grade 1 up to the higher levels is that we have more slow learners who are not being given individual attention which they should have. A small discussion between the researcher and a small group of students from several schools revealed that most teachers in the classrooms are busy teaching children at a faster pace in an effort to finish the syllabus in time for their final ordinary level exams. Because of this, they are seen as pupils who slow down the pace of others. This is therefore depriving slow learners an opportunity to understand the concepts being taught as they are seen as pupils who slow down the pace of others.

The researcher observed that most teachers view slow learners as lazy pupils who are not putting any effort towards their work. Because of this teachers tend to ignore slow learners and focus on fast learners alone. Furthermore the researcher as a teacher also observed that slow learners are being ignored simply because the time table is too packed. A small discussion with teachers revealed that teachers have too much workload on their shoulders which makes them find less time for slow learners.

After all these observations have been made, the researcher's main drive to carry out this study was to find out what the teachers are doing to assist the slow learners in mathematics at secondary level. The researcher was also keen to know the different challenges teachers are facing in handing slow learners in their classrooms.

Statement of the problem

This research is concerned with the teaching of slow learners in primary school level. What the researcher was mainly looking for was how the slow learners are being assisted in the teaching and learning   as well as the challenges being faced by teachers in assisting these slows learners, if any. The researcher also looked for the perspectives of the students towards the assistance they are getting from their teacher.

Objectives of the study

the major objective of this research work is to find out the Problem of teaching slow learner in upper Primary school

the specific objective is to;

1.     determine how slow learner are being assisted at primary school level

2.     to find out the problem faced by teachers in assisting these slow learners

3.    investigate slow learners’ perspectives towards the assistance they are being given by their   teachers

Research Questions

a)How are slow learners   being assisted at primary school level?

b)What are the challenges  faced by the teachers in assisting these slow learners?

c)  What are the slow learners’ perspectives towards the assistance they are being given by their   teachers?

Research Hypothesis


Significance of study

Research  shown that low performance in primary is largely caused by the poor performance of slow learners who have been observed to constitute a big number in most schools as compared to fast learners. This research shall help policy makers assess if slow learners are being given adequate help by the teachers in the classroom.

This research also aims at identifying challenges being faced by the teacher in assisting slow learners if any. This will also help policy makers identify appropriate measures to assist the teachers so that they can be able to assist the slow learners effectively 

Through this research, the slow learners in mathematics shall be given an opportunity to say out freely what they feel is causing their slow performance in class, whether the causes are emanating from the teacher or from the school. These will intern guide the authorities on how to assist these students to improve their performance .

Through this research, different ideas on how to help slow learners can be assisted shall be exposed. This will help teachers broaden their understanding of teaching slow learners in mathematics as each teacher might be having his or her own method which he or she is applying and has found it being very effective in teaching slow learners in his or her classroom.

 Scope  of the study.

This research is aimed at investigating Problem of teaching slow learner in upper Primary school, five selected primary school  were used for the study

 Limitations of the Study

The whole research pumped out a lot of money especially in typing questionnaires, making three final drafts which were spiral bond and one which was bound using executive binding.

Definition of terms

Dyscalculia :difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic concepts such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning other mathematics facts.

Dyslexia: According to the Medical Encyclopedia (2013), it is characterized difficulty in learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal intelligence.

Slow learner: According to Williams (1970) these are children who are of limited intelligence.

Special Education Child: According to Howell (2000), a child is defined as a special education if he or she has learning difficulty which needs special teaching. Such difficulty may be a result of a medical problem.




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