Ever wonder why the amount of effort we put into supporting students has zero effect on whether or not they fail?
I mean sometimes we spend a few minutes and it is all a student needs to get back on track.
Other times we spend hours and weeks of intensive support and the student STILL fails.
So just because you put in a lot of time supporting students, it doesn’t mean that you will always be successful.
That’s a sobering thought isn’t it?
But there’s something else. There is a sneaky reason why the amount of time we put in makes little difference to the effectiveness of our support. In fact, there are 3 of them and if you don’t deal with them, they will secretly undermine your supports and render them ineffective every time.
Sneaky Reason #1: Ad hoc support
Most attempts to support struggling students are reactive. Students struggle and then we scramble to find a support that we hope will get them back on track. Unfortunately, this hit-or-miss ad hoc approach is frustrating for students and exhausting to teachers. Why? Because you are guessing and hoping your ad hoc supports will work rather than having a reliable, sure-fire system of support students– one that provides consistent and reliable results every single time. Acceleration helps you systematically anticipate where students may struggle so that you can create supports and put them in place BEFORE students even need them.
Sneaky Reason #2: Generalized support
When students struggle, many of us see the vastness of their struggle and try to solve it all at once. We end up throwing the kitchen sink at them, trying to fill in every gap and meet every challenge they face. But when students struggle in class, they are struggling for a specific reason. Sure, they may have several learning gaps and challenges, but at that moment, their struggle can usually be tied to a very specific learning gap or challenge. Rather than try to fill EVERY need a struggling learner faces, you need to target what they need right now. The better you are at pinpointing their specific source of struggle, the better you will be at solving it. Acceleration helps you target the source of students’ struggle today and quickly get students back on track so that they can be successful immediately.
Sneaky Reason #3: Delayed Support
If we wait for students to fail as the first signal that they need help, our support will always come too late. By the time a student is experiencing struggle, they are already scared, frustrated, and losing motivation by the moment. Trying to provide support under those conditions is not only stressful for us, it is stressful for the student. The other challenge is that we cannot always predict when students will encounter struggle. So while we stand at the ready with supports, if the student starts to struggle at home or on the weekend or while we are working with another student, we may miss the opportunity to help them when they need us the most. That’s why acceleration works so well. It gives students the supports they will need BEFORE they need them. Sometimes these supports actually PREVENT struggle in the first place. Other times, these supports equip students with real-time and just-in-time resources and skills they need to successfully manage any struggle so that they can overcome it quickly and get back on track even if you aren’t there to help them.
If you are making any of these mistakes, or you know teachers who are, then I’ve got good news for you. Creating a Student SUCCESS Plan can help you immediately overcome these mistakes and give your struggling students the support they need to be successful. You can get step-by-step help creating your own Student SUCCESS Plan here.