What Are Remedial Classes and Why Some Kids Need It?
"Every child has a Different Learning Style and Pace. Each Child is Unique, Not Only Capable of Learning But Also Capable of Succeeding." - Robert John Meehan
As a parent and as a teacher, we need to understand and respect this uniqueness. Every child learns at a different pace and there is nothing wrong with it. When there is a gap between what they are learning in school or what they are supposed to know at their age and their actual level of understanding, then they would need some help and encouragement to bridge the gap. This is where remedial classes become helpful.
According to a study, “remedial courses had academic, social, psychological, economic, and career development impacts on students’ lives. Moreover, as students’ school success improved, students learned how to spend their leisure time effectively in a secure environment, became socialized, increased their self-confidence, and realized their potential.”
However, you need to understand the difference between special education and remedial programs. Unlike special education programs where we tend to deal with a disability, remedial classes are just to bridge the gap between what a child knows and what he/she is expected to know at that age.
Likewise, remedial classes are also different from tuitions. In tuitions, kids go through the same school curriculum and strive to understand it better. However, remedial classes have nothing to do with the school curriculum. It is all about helping a child with a learning delay or who is struggling to find a way out to cope up with learning, especially foundational skills.
Next, we need to understand why do some kids need remedial classes when they are going through the same curriculum in school or they are exposed to the same learning system as others. For example, there is a lot of concern among parents about the reading proficiency gap. They complain that their child is not reading a lot or how much they should be. This might be due to some learning difficulty for the child which he/she will be able to overcome with the right strategies. Gradually, he/she will be able to proficiently read like others in the same age group.
Sometimes, some kids may not make any progress in remedial programs as well. This can be taken as a sign of a learning disability. Such kids might need more specialized instructions and special education programs.
Why do some kids need remedial classes?
Processing Time: Some kids can read easily which means the procession time for them to decode a word is less than those who struggle to understand and read a word. This leads to a sense of frustration among struggling learners. This also leads to several academic challenges.
Remedial classes are helpful in many ways. So, we need to understand what are the mail elements of such programs.
Systematic- There is a gradual process in which the kids learn. It has nothing to do with the grade of the child. It starts from the least or the very basic skill progressing to the most complex skill(s). For example, for words, we start with the sound, then identifying the word, and finally the spelling.
Highly Structured- The structure is according to the requirement of the child so that they can clearly see the positive difference after taking these classes.
Direct Instructions- The instructions are all explicit that is nothing is taken for granted. Each step is planned and aims to make understanding easier for the child.
Complete retraining and mastery of skills: This is where the child is trained or educated on all the basic concepts after identifying the gap so that he/she is able to imbibe the learning.
Automatic learning and fluent: These classes help the child to learn automatically through constructive methods and become fluent like their peers.
They are multi-sensory: Multi-sensory teaching is a highly beneficial method for struggling learners. It involves all the senses which are put to use for learning. Teaching using all the learning pathways in the brain simultaneously or sequentially is referred to as multi-sensory teaching. When they see, there is a visual input; when they hear, there is an auditory impact and finally, kinesthetics and oral motor components where someone writes in various ways or when they hear sounds.
Finally, we come to the content part of remedial classes. Most remedial programs target weaknesses in Reading and Math. Even research suggests that participating learners in remedial classes showed improvement in English and Maths.
It begins with Phonological Awareness, which is like one step before Phonics. At this stage, the kids are made aware of the different sounds around them. As they keep listening, they start identifying as well. Next, we move on to Phonemic Awareness which deals with the sound of individual letters. Here, they listen to the sound of each letter of a word and try to understand them first. Then, we move on to Phonics which is the association of the sound and the symbol. Gradually, this gets associated with vocabulary, syntax, comprehension, and fluency.
Remedial programs are mostly individualized instruction rather than full class instruction. Teachers who offer remedial programs should have special training in the same. A child’s remedial program should be research-based and as per his/her needs.
Remedial educational classes mostly take around 2 years (45 mins and 5 days a week). But, it depends on the child and his/her level of learning difficulty. In conclusion, remedial programs are very important for kids with learning challenges and it surely helps them to build confidence as well.