It is not unusual for students to encounter academic concerns during the academic phase of their lives - right from the primary school days until university.
The academic concerns or learning difficulties that a student may have to grapple with are -
Inability to understand the study material
Becoming anxious before a test which impacts his/her performance during the said test
Inconsistent study habits
Lack of interest in the subject
Being a victim of bullying
Not showing up for classes or seminars
Delaying homework or not submitting assignments on time
Inability to chalk out a study plan or sticking to it
Underachieving in tests and exams
Academic concerns not only affect a student’s grades but also can have an adverse influence on all dimensions of his/her life – it may also prevent the student from developing into a happy healthy individual.
What triggers Academic Concerns?
There could be a myriad of different reasons that could prompt academic concerns. The common ones are -
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can result in reduced attention span and can interfere with learning or curtain a person’s organisational skills
Extreme study pressure
Being diagnosed with some form of a learning disability (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing deficits, dysgraphia)
Being diagnosed with a psychological ailment like anxiety or depression, which drains a person of motivation and a will to succeed
The manner in which the study material is delivered is not in sync with the type of learner that the person is. For example, a visual learner would find it difficult to extract and retain information from a lecture delivered verbally
Parents and teachers today are recommended to keep a close eye on a child’s performance at school so that academic concerns can be spotted early on. If they continue to be disregarded then the consequences will plague the student all his/her life.
Why Should You Be Concerned?
If academic concerns are not diagnosed, your child will continue to underperform. This may lead to social isolation at school or college, which can have a terrible psychological impact on him/her. The academic concern is a leading factor behind dropping-out from schools and colleges. Derision faced in school or at home because of underachievement or being pressurised to improve grades could trigger depression, frustration and anxiety. Studies have shown that these students are more likely to attempt suicide.
How to Help Someone with Academic Concerns
Extending help to a student who has been encountering academic concerns starts with the parents accepting that their child is different and needs extra care. Parents, as well as teachers, need to be patient and understanding of the child’s needs. You have to dial down the pressure and the rebuke because that will only have the opposite effect.
You may have to consult a doctor to determine if your child is indeed suffering from learning disabilities. While there is no particular cure for these problems, therapy can help your child get back on track. However, the success of therapy depends largely on parents and how supportive they are. Be prepared to constantly encourage them.
The therapist will help identify what kind of learner the student is- visual, auditory or kinesthetic and suggest techniques that will help the student learn faster.
If you are an older student and suspect that you may be suffering from academic concerns, you can do the following -
Try to interact with your teacher a little more and explain your concerns to him/her
Rope in a friend or family member to help you draw up a study plan. Prepare for your tests months in advance to cope with the stress better.
Opt for multiple practice tests to beat the exam blues
Workout and eat healthily throughout the year to boost your brain function
Try to understand what kind of study technique works best for you. For example – opt for audiobooks if you think you are an auditory learner
Academic concerns need not be a roadblock to success. With patience, care and dedication these hurdles can be overcome.
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