Strategies to improve academic outcomes

Teachers should always strive to make sure their learners get what they need to be successful, not just in school, but outside the school environment as well.

Experts say that this can be achieved only if emphasis is put on various areas and activities.

Relationship between behaviour and academic performance

Experts say that taking measures to improve academic performance and outcome start with improving the behaviour of students in the classroom. Although it can seem challenging, teachers play a large role in creating an environment that encourages learning, improves student behaviour and creates better academic performance at every level of education. Teachers can accomplish amazing feats when the appropriate strategies are implemented to improve the behaviour in the classroom.

Aminadhad Niyoshunti, an English teacher at Apaper Complex School in Kicukiro, says good behaviour from students requires parental involvement.

For instance, he points out that having occasional meetings with parents is ideal; through this, they can ensure that parents provide not only scholastic materials for their children, but also parental guidance.

“With this, the parties involved are on the same page, thus, better performance from students. In case of a problem, it’s also easier to handle,” he says.

Also, he says, like teachers, parents also need to motivate learners in areas where they see improvement, be it in performance, discipline or even how they relate to their siblings at home.

He says that this gives a learner the morale to behave better in all areas, thus improving their chances of success in general.

Failure to do this, Niyoshunti says, sometimes leads to student demoralisation, and they may end up engaging in activities that they think will make them happy. This could be joining corrupt groups, leading them to misbehave.

“This behaviour plays a major role in a learner’s academic achievement. If they lack good morals, it affects their ability to learn, as well as ther students’ learning environment,” he says.

Fred Atinga, a teacher at Riviera High School, says that another strategy on how students’ outcome can be improved is by giving credit, or offering rewards to students who have performed well.

By rewarding students in any improvement, he says it helps stimulate learning and motivates good behaviour as well. Apart from that, they will also show interest and raise their participation in whatever they do.

Jacky Irabagiza, a matron and counsellor at Martyrs School in Remera, says when a student is rewarded for doing well, in school or other areas, it boosts their self-esteem.

“Since such a student has been praised and encouraged to continue working hard, it helps them become confident,” she says.

She adds that motivating students by rewarding them also makes them more productive in class because it creates a feeling of pride and achievement.

However, Irabagiza warns that teachers and parents should not give rewards for everything, or repeatedly, because this can lead to working hard just to be rewarded. 

“Students should work so that they understand what they are being taught as this will help them in the future. When they are over rewarded, they only focus on finishing an assignment just to win the prize instead of doing it to understand,” she says.

Provide hands-on assignments

Isaac Ddumba, a teacher at La Colombier School in Kigali, says that teachers should also encourage and involve students in hands-on projects such as research, real life activities and so on.

He says, for instance, when students are encouraged to do research, it helps contribute to their knowledge development, practical improvement, as well as policy information.

By using research findings, he says, educators can improve their competences and teaching as well as learning process, which yields better results as far as education is concerned.

He adds that by involving students in hands-on projects, it helps them develop critical reasoning skills, which are helpful for different fields of higher education.

Offer support and belief in the students

Ddumba says teachers should always strive at providing students with good teaching.

He adds that practicing good teaching is a key influence on student learning.

Ddumba says teachers should also care for their students. Caring, he says, involves showing concern and affection, among other things.

He adds that there should also be clear communication between learners and teachers, especially in cases of misunderstanding.

“Clear communication gives room for a student to express themselves on whatever issues they may have. Also, a teacher should be able to point out what they want and expect exactly, which improves understanding and yields better results,” Ddumba says.

Focus on achievement

Diana Nawatte, head teacher at Mother Mary Complex School in Kigali, says for teachers to ensure success of their students, they should focus on strategies that always improve on achievements.

For instance, she says that teachers should be able to follow the curriculum well.

“A guided curriculum helps improve learning, and so teachers should be able to focus on the academic needs of each student. When they do so, it provides students with the ability to achieve better in a particular subject,” he says.

He adds that it also allows the school to have higher standards in each area of academics, thus better achievement of the entire school.

Niyoshunti says that when teachers identify students who are weak in certain areas, they should find ways to help them.

“They should focus on a particular part of the subject, for instance, pinpoint areas where the student has difficulty,” he says.

On the other hand, he notes that schools should come up with strategies that also aim at motivating teachers.

Teachers should be able to create an environment where learning becomes fun, and they can only do that if they too are motivated.

It is important for educators to develop teaching strategies that keep students engaged. When students are not actively engaged in classroom activities, they become bored. This can lead to disruptive behaviour and lacklustre grades. Students perform best when their learning atmosphere is exciting. To engage students in the classroom, teachers must prepare lessons that keep students active during the learning process, suggests a digital learning site.

“This will boost achievement in the classroom setting and other areas,” he says.

Studies have also shown that positive engagement motivates them. If students feel that their achievement is recognised and could help others, it gives them the incentive to do well in school.

Also, fostering an environment that encourages students to support one another may help improve their overall success, studies suggest.

Their views

Elvis Sibomana, Instructor

Teachers and parents should set a good example for learners to emulate. They should make sure what they preach is what they do, or else the young generation may lose direction.
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Cecilia Batamuliza, Parent

I think children should be raised in environments that expose them to different activities. This gives them opportunities to excel in many areas without limitation.
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Allan Habimana, Teacher

Teachers should encourage learners to join clubs that will help them figure out what they want to do. This should be emphasised, especially in institutions of higher learning.
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Sylvia Uwimbabazi, Student

Students should learn to respect people of all ages. They should strive to maintain good discipline in school because it also contributes to our success in general.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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