Student Intervention: Case Study #1

A couple years ago, I had been teaching an 8th grade science class. In the back of the class sat a student, who never seemed to take class seriously. She was always talking to her friends, drawing in her notes, or sneaking text messages on her cell phone. I spoke to her parents about her behavior and they expressed the same frustration with her at home. Her grades were quickly declining, so I scheduled a parent meeting and discussed the option of afterschool tutoring. Shortly after, I began meeting with the student afterschool and tutoring her in science. A couple weeks had passed and I noticed something. She had a difficult time reading the material. I realized this after having her read one of the paragraphs aloud. I asked her about her ability to read, and she said that she needed help, but was too embarrassed to ask for help. She didn’t want her friends to make fun of her. Then, I noticed something else. Whenever I wrote anything on the marker board, I saw her straining her eyes to see what I wrote. I had her sit closer. She had to move to the front row to clearly see what I had written on the board. I asked her about her vision and she admitted that her vision was poor. She said that her parents had been struggling financially and she didn’t want to ask them to buy her glasses. I continued to tutor her afterschool, but I also made a few changes to my classroom. Since she didn’t want to lose her status among her friends, I moved all the students around and arranged it so that her group was closer to the front. I also planned my teaching to incorporate more group collaboration and rely more on reciprocated teaching. This not only helped her improve her grades in class, but it made the topic more engaging for everyone. By the end of the school year, she became one of my top performing students.

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