i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Student Success Stories

The Learning Journey in Action

Ben joined my Critical Reading and Writing L1 class when he was in Primary 1. On his first day, he walked through the door with his school bag half-open and books spilling out. During class, when I asked him to read passages aloud from the workbook, he stared at me blankly. I wasn’t sure if he would fit into the class, which had five strong and articulate students in it. However, I thought Ben could have been having a bad day, and I hoped for better the following week.

Unfortunately, the more I observed, the more I saw Ben struggling to keep up. He wasn’t able to understand the passages we read, let alone analyse the themes and infer deeper meanings. Even the simple parts of the lesson, which the other students breezed through, were tricky for Ben.

Worried about his progress, I talked to his parents, and I was pleased to learn how understanding they were of Ben’s situation. Where many parents might have pushed for intensive grammar drilling to quickly bring up their child’s grades, Ben’s parents had a different approach. They wanted to foster a love of the English language in Ben, and they didn’t mind taking it one step at a time. Inspired by this, I made a plan for working with Ben that would help him love learning.

From what I observed, much of Ben’s struggle was due to a weak vocabulary. He couldn’t understand the passages in the workbook well or form meaningful answers when asked about them. With that in mind, instead of pushing Ben to complete every section of the class workbook, we focused on specific sections to ensure he really understood them. While talking about the passages, Ben shared his love of robots with me, and I brought a book about robots to class for him to read from each week.

This work with Ben was a slow process, but after a few months, I saw huge improvements in him. He was able to understand passages without my help, and because of that, he had developed a passion for English. On top of that, he raised intelligent questions in class, showing that he really did engage with the texts. The hard work he put in shone through in his academic results as well, and I recently got the fantastic news that he came in second in English in his class.

The experience of working with Ben was an eye-opener for me as I realised that learning is a journey that people take at different paces. It’s vital to remember that children are like sponges. If we let them have the time to take everything in instead of focusing everything on exams, we’re rewarded with the amazing experience of seeing a child blossom. Good things definitely take time!