In part 1 of this article we focused on the European Commission communication Tackling early school leaving: a key contribution to the Europe 2020 agenda’ and began to explore what teachers can do to prevent early school leaving. Here we look even closer at strategies teachers and educators can use to tackle this challenging issue.
When students are struggling and falling behind their peers, they may drop out of school because they feel hopeless. Teachers can prevent this tragedy by working with the student one-to-one to help him or her catch up to the rest of the class. This process may involve tutoring, assigning make-up work or offering extra credit. If the teacher doesn’t have time to work with the student, the teacher can refer the student to another tutor or mentor. In Bristol Cabot Learning Federation is piloting the concept of mentoring linked with businesses/industry. They are looking for approximately 500 business mentors for young people.
Teachers often believe that they only need to worry about secondary school dropouts if they work with secondary school students. Unfortunately, many students start on the path to dropping out much earlier. To prevent future failures, teachers of primary school students should always look for students who seem to be struggling with the subject matter, as well as those who are uninterested in school. Identifying these students early on and working to improve their educational experience may prevent them from dropping out of secondary school years later.
Students who drop out of secondary school often suffer from low self-esteem. Teachers can address this problem by working to build each struggling student’s confidence in his or her abilities. With a little encouragement from a caring teacher, some students find the strength to keep going until they finish school and may even decide to go onto further or higher education.