Cooter and Cooter Jr. defined a slow learning child as those who have a low learning achievement or slightly below normal average child at any academic areas with IQ scores between 70 and 90 (Cooter & Cooter Jr., 2004). Slow learning children can be a challenge for fellow teacher and learners as they may not be able to grasp what they teach to their students. Thus, adapting new skills and knowledge beneficial towards growth like Mathematics, personal hygiene and motor skills can become a grind. Luckily, there are useful solutions teachers and parents can adapt to give the ‘slow learners’ room for learning to ensure they are able to fully absorb what they learn from the teachers.
What is Project Based Learning?
One of the best solutions towards helping slow learners is the Project Based Learning models. Project Based Learning is a technique of developing guiding questions for students to provide opportunity for students to explore the content using meaningful ways and conduct collaborative experiments (PBLWorks, n.d.). Furthermore, the method also allows students to investigate issues and topics addressing real-world problems while integrating subjects across the curriculum in a more holistic approach.
The characteristics of Project Based Learning (Andrés, 2006) include:
● Learners make decisions about a framework.
● The problems or challenges posed to the students.
● Learners design a process to determine a solution to the problems or challenges posed.
● Learners collaboratively responsible for accessing and managing information to solve the problem.
● Continuous evaluation process.
● Continuous reflection on the activities within the learning environment
● The end-product from the learning activity will be evaluated qualitatively.
● Toleration with error and changes are inclusive.
In addition, constructivism has also been adapted in Project Based Learning, to help develop a learning atmosphere that requires their own knowledge building (Bell et al., 1995). However, this approach is more instructional centric in giving freedom for learners in activity planning, collaborative projects and ultimately creating the final product.
Learning Design of Project Based Learning
Based on the characteristics, project-based learning can provide benefits to slow learners as they are able to interact with normal children, increase participation in groups, and learn to adjust to social life and even help them to achieve certain learning objectives effectively (Hartini et al., 2017). Normal children meanwhile can eliminate the negative view of disabled children (Arjmandnia & Kakabaraee, 2011). Thus, for the best result, teachers and learners need to focus on different strategies towards slow learners compared to normal children. One of the keys to differentiate is diversification in terms of learning ability of each child by customizing their learning abilities based on goals, time allocation, rewards, tasks, and learning assistance (Nugroho & Mareza, 2016). Thus, several aspects of learning strategies to be focused on for slow learners include the formulation of their objectives, needs and characteristics of students and types of learning materials (Dick et al., 2014). The selection of models in accordance with the outlines from Walter Dick and Carrey is called discovery learning. Students in the model are encouraged to learn through activities and experiences as well as interaction. The best way to do so is to group the children into a maximum of 3 students each heterogeneously and the teachers act as facilitator and companion for the teams to expose slow learners to social experiences that will spur delays and foster self-esteem.
Characteristics of the Project Based Learning Model Design:
● Preliminary activities include perception utilization, learning objectives, checking the prerequisite skills, creating a chart principal material, delivering essential real-world questions and the reality relevancy topic for students.
● Main priorities include delivery of material starting from that most importantly assisted by various media adapting the submitted material like tables, graphics, pictures, videos, concrete visuals, and others.
● Teachers within the design form groups of 3 heterogeneous students, assigning group tasks to be completed together which can either observations, experiments, or questions and determine the project completion deadline in one lesson.
● Students are given the freedom to look for sources of information around them.
● The closing activities include providing rewards for the group with the best results, the assessment carried out during the learning process and the results of group projects and group presentations, students, and teachers to reflect.
● The follow up activities post the learning process include house assignment and motivation.
As a summary, project-based learning is helpful in addressing the issues for slow learners like low achievement, low memory, less attention span, has slower learning speed compared to their classmates, requires more stimulus to perform simple tasks and having problems of adaptation and social relations in the classroom. Slow learners can adapt with the group learning system, learn a lot longer due to the information they gained based on direct experience and able to improve attention skills by focusing on joint projects and coordinating projects. Thus, hopefully Project Based Learning becomes the most effective way in ensuring solid improvements in slow learners to be better for the long term.
Andrés, Y. M. (2006). PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: Learning Through Projects Teaches Students Important Project Management Skills. Project Management Institute. http://www.globalschoolnet.org/gsncenter/resources/articles/index.cfm?link=project_learning.htm
Arjmandnia, A. A., & Kakabaraee, K. (2011). THE INVESTIGATION OF PARENT’S ATTITUDE TOWARD INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR SLOW LEARNERS. 2nd International Conference on New Trends in Education and Their Implications, 129–136. www.iconte.org
Bell, B., Jones, A., & Carr, M. (1995). The development of the recent national New Zealand science curriculum. Studies in Science Education, 26(1), 73–105. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057269508560072
Cooter, K. S., & Cooter Jr., R. B. (2004). One size doesn’t fit all: Slow learners in the reading classroom. The Reading Teacher, 57(7), 680–684. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292454156_One_size_doesn%27t_fit_all_Slow_learners_in_the_reading_classroom
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2014). Systematic Design of Instruction, The 8th Edition - InstructionalDesign.org (8th ed.). https://www.instructionaldesign.org/books/systematic-design-of-instruction-the-8th-edition/
Hartini, A., Widyaningtyas, D., & Mashluhah, M. I. (2017). LEARNING STRATEGIES FOR SLOW LEARNERS USING THE PROJECT BASED LEARNING MODEL IN PRIMARY SCHOOL. JPI (Jurnal Pendidikan Inklusi), 1(1), 29. https://doi.org/10.26740/inklusi.v1n1.p29-39
Nugroho, A., & Mareza, L. (2016). MODEL DAN STRATEGI PEMBELAJARAN ANAK BERKEBUTUHAN KHUSUS DALAM SETTING PENDIDIKAN INKLUSI. In JURNAL PENDIDIKAN DASAR PERKHASA: Jurnal Penelitian Pendidikan Dasar (Vol. 2, Issue 2). https://doi.org/10.31932/JPDP.V2I2.105
PBLWorks. (n.d.). What is Project Based Learning? | PBLWorks. Retrieved April 24, 2021, from https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl