6 Ways of Helping Students With Overcoming Learning Barriers

Monday, July 22, 2019

Learning anything comes with some kind of labour whether it’s time spent, a search for meaning, or a simple struggle to understand. After all, every learner is different. With those differences will come the process of overcoming learning barriers of every definition. You won’t always see them coming if you’re a teacher, but there are ways to help your learners get over them.

Here we have 6 of the most efficient methods for giving your learners the upper hand with overcoming learning barriers as they appear.



This is perhaps the simplest and most obvious way to begin. Our students will ultimately succeed in overcoming learning barriers through the practice of belief. First and foremost, they must believe they can make it happen. Failure and struggle can rob anyone of their power if they believe there’s no way to do better, and our learners are no different. That’s why we must strive to ensure that they can if they believe they can. If we choose to believe in our students, they will also choose to believe in themselves.


2. Provide Context and Relevance

Getting over barriers to learning requires a solid connection to what is being taught through relevance to the learner. Connection to something relevant to students ensures real learning will take place. When you prepare to teach a topic or concept, ask yourself where your students may encounter it outside school. If it’s something they would recognize, or that perhaps even relates to their personal interests, it has a powerful connection to learning.

If nothing immediately comes to mind, then try to identify the kinds of tasks that students would be performing when they applied those skills or used that knowledge. Always consider above all how teaching any content could be made more compelling for your students.


3. Debrief and Assess Constantly

Constant reflection and interesting assessment activities will keep kids engaged and motivated. The most often overlooked step in learning is the debrief, which is a crucial phase of Solution Fluency. Reflection on our learning processes ensures we pinpoint areas of improvement, as well as the moments in which we faced our greatest breakthroughs. For this reason, we strongly recommend learners consistently reflect on their learning both individually and in groups.


4. Use Enabling Language

Jackie Gerstein from User Generated Education works with elementary learners in her practice. The most common thing she hears them say when the tasks get too difficult is, “I can’t do this!” She draws on the wisdom of Carol Dweck to reveal how to aid such learners in overcoming learning barriers. The trick, we discover, is in using the right language:

“By asking learners to add ‘yet’ to the end of their ‘I can’t do this’ comments, possibilities are opened up for success in future attempts and iterations. It changes their fixed or failure mindsets to growth and possibility ones.”


5. Provide and Model Opportunities

It doesn’t do to simply isolate an important and potentially life-changing lesson into one class or period. Of course, the lesson we are talking about is the lesson of lifelong learning. Any great teacher is also a great learner with an eye out for possibilities to discover something new every day. Curiosity can be passed on to our learners if we model it for them with passion. Being lifelong learners will help them build skills they’ll need for overcoming learning barriers all throughout their lives.


Source: Wabisabi Learning