Some students come eagerly to school ready to learn whilst others attend reluctantly and tend to spend a fair amount of their time avoiding work. The differences between ability and producing work can be found as early as elementary school.
A student may for example be an excellent reader but then fails to complete assignments or makes sloppy mistakes.In middle school underachievement can be seen in both academic and non academic areas .Students may be withdrawn or defiant. By the time the child reaches high school they have probably been labeled as underachiever and are probably going to be encouraged to take a vocational class .
“Underachievers are ,in fact,highly motivated - in directions other than getting good grades.And finding out precisely where their motivation lies ,is the key to helping them turn around and become achievers at school “ ( Mandel &Marcus 1995 )
Identifying under achievers
1. Avoidance behavior :- If underachievers avoid work ans assignments then it saves them from having to think about the fact they may lack the ability to complete these.They will be distracted ,forget to do homework ,misplace assignments and papers .In class they spend a fair amount of time staring out the window.
2. Low self esteem :-Students who are in fact gifted can underachieve simply to ensure there is no pressure on them .There is a definite lack of personal control over their school success.They will often believe that any additional hard work they put into a subject will still result in failure .Students will normally set their goals either too high or even too low.
3. Not confident in their own abilities. If they fail students will blame their lack of ability and if they succeed they blame it on luck .They tend to only accept responsibility for their failures and don’t even consider they may be successful .School will be boring when they are young and high schools students will find it irrelevant.They will blame poor grades on having the “worst” teachers.They don’t know how to build self confidence.These students have not been given the tools to persevere at something and succeed.
4. Rebellion :- Students who rebel against authority use it as a way to blame the school for underachieving .
5. Avoidance of any Competition- Students will avoid competition both in and out of school.This is unless they are sure that they can win .These students often have competitive feelings but they don’t believe they can win .They will often quit before competition starts .This way they will not have to cope with defeat.
A typical under achiever is the student who is smart but turns in work of a standard to get C and D grades in subjects.This is normally when they fail to turn in assignments or not bother to study for tests.A good teacher will be able to help children to learn in a way that works with their personalities and learning styles.
As a teacher you can make adjustments in your methods of teaching and classroom activities.This will help these underachievers have a reasonable chance for success.