No Child Is a Dullard – They Are Treasures

I first heard that no child is a dullard when I taught at the Education Advancement Centre (EAC) in Ibadan. Pastor Bamgbose, the school’s owner, uttered that statement during a seminar. From his words, he said if your lesson plan is designed so that the students can digest it and make the learning fun, students won’t have to struggle in your class. I ponder his words, and they have been my beliefs since then.

My belief in that statement was reinforced by students I have taught and some success stories I have read. How can you explain a student who struggled to pass WAEC after 3-4 sittings graduating with a first class? This means the failures were not because the student wasn’t excellent but because there were factors that negatively affected his learning ability. For example, Punch Newspaper interviewed Dr Adewale Tiamiyu, a lecturer in the Department of European Languages at the University of Lagos. Dr Tiamiyu said when he first wrote his O’level, he had F9 parallel, and that was in 1987. Despite his poor performance in his first outing, he wrote the exam again and passed. The most interesting part of his story is that he graduated with a first class at 32 in OAU. He made a profound statement that we need to pay attention to: “It was then I discovered that I was not a dullard back then in secondary school.” During the interview, he noted that life is just like a game, and no one is a dullard. If a student fails, it is the teacher that has failed.

Read: Causes of poor academic performance

Causes of dullness in students

Parents and teachers need to understand why a student might be dull. This doesn’t mean such a student can’t do excellently well; it is just that there are factors affecting his ability to maximize his potential.

Unseriousness – every child tends to be playful and not interested in learning. Playfulness somehow endears many students, giving them divided attention to their studies. I am not saying students shouldn’t play, but there must be measures. No wonder someone said work without play makes Jack a dull boy. Even play can aid learning if it is done in modesty. However, issues arise when a student devotes all his/her time doing something that adds no value to his academics. Everything under the heaven has its time – time to play and time to study.

Teacher’s failure – teachers start failing when their content is not student-centered. A teacher must understand his students and how to present his lesson content to them. The approach shouldn’t be one size fits all. Teaching strategies must be flexible enough and tailored to the students. Also, teachers should ensure that learning is fun. The approach of getting to class with a frowning face and looking like someone whose whole world has collapsed can’t help the students. Your appearance in the class must portray someone excited to see his students. How you appear can bring life to the students who need someone to lighten their mood.

Family problem – some students come from home with little or no peace. I have discovered that once peace is absent, it is impossible to concentrate or be attentive in class. This is one reason teachers should be sensitive to their students’ emotions. It is not difficult to identify a student who has a bag of issues going on with them. Their facial expression and their mood are the indicators.

No child can’t do well in life once the environment is conducive and he loves what he is doing. All that God made is good, and they can reach greater heights. Do not look down on any child; give them the needed support and see them flying higher in life.

Bolarinwa Olajire

A tutor with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the icon below to ask questions.

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