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Teaching Vulnerable Learners

Strategies for Students who are Bored, Distracted, Discouraged, or Likely to Drop Out


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The practices that work—and those that don’t—to reach and teach students at risk.

When schools fail to address the problems of struggling students, the consequences can be dire: course failures, absenteeism, suspensions or expulsions, dropouts. Those effects continue to ripple after school with lower rates of college attendance and graduation, underemployment and lower wages and even incarceration.

Yet many of these students can experience a very different trajectory when their learning difficulties are addressed. Whether it’s a student with ADHD who has trouble sitting still, a student just arrived from abroad who speaks no English or a traumatised student who dissociates in class; there are strategies that have proven effective in overcoming the hurdles they face. This guide will help teachers recognise the most common barriers to learning and apply solutions that will work in their classrooms.

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