The privilege of receiving an education is one of the greatest opportunities we can grasp as we grow. Our time in school should be joyous, exciting, and inspiring as we take what we learn and decide who we want to become.
For a child experiencing barriers to learning, however, school can be an incredibly frustrating experience.
What is a barrier to learning?
Simply put, a barrier to learning is any obstacle that stands in the way of a child receiving the best education that is possible for him. Barriers to learning can be environmental, social, emotional, or even physiological as he struggles to learn concepts and retain facts. There are many factors that influence a child’s ability to learn and grow; identifying these barriers and putting systems in place to overcome them is the key to creating an environment of success for every individual.
Common barriers to learning
- Environmental barriers to learning can include a child’s surroundings, the way that a learning environment is set up physically, and even the temperature of the room learning is taking place in. Other factors affecting this type of barrier include the type of environment a child is coming to school from—if a student does not feel safe and supported at home, he is unlikely to be motivated to succeed in school.
Overcoming environmental barriers: If this type of environmental chaos is taking place in the learning environment, teachers must recognize the need for changes in a child’s immediate surroundings to eliminate some of the distractions. In addition, knowing what challenges a student faces when transitioning from home to school might be helpful in minimizing the need for adaptations. For instance, knowing that a child may not have eaten breakfast before coming to school might be easily solved by the teaching providing a snack so that the student feels supported in his learning environment.
- Social/emotional barriers have to do with the interpersonal relationships that a child has in his life, and how these relationships make him feel about himself and the world around him. Social/emotional barriers can also include mental health and behavioral challenges that the student displays as a result of his environment or life circumstances. Social and emotional health is fast becoming the focus of many districts as educators receive an increasing number of students each year who are simply not emotionally or socially prepared to handle the demands of academic work.
Overcoming social/emotional barriers: Knowing a child’s background and challenges that he faces as he comes to the classroom are keys to being able to unlock his academic potential. Watching for indicators of social and emotional difficulty will allow you to intervene and help a student learn new behaviors as ways of dealing with their areas of distress. Providing the student with opportunities ways to express himself in healthy ways, modeled by adults that he knows and trusts, will be instrumental in helping him break patterns that previously held him back.
- Physiological barriers are difficulties that may exist as a result of a student’s mind or body being compromised. A child with learning disabilities or a physical challenge of some sort would be an example of a child with physiological barriers to learning. A child with physiological challenges often feels as if his ability to learn is out of his control, and that he might not have the opportunities for success that other children are afforded simply because they are “normal”. A child with physiological barriers to learning often struggles also with social and emotional difficulties as well as a result of their condition and the view they have of themselves.
Overcoming physiological barriers: With barriers to learning such as these, there comes the additional challenge of a diagnosis in order to accurately describe and treat conditions with proven interventions. For a child with diminished fine motor skills due to a physical handicap, modification of educational tools and even his surroundings will be necessary to give him opportunities for learning and growth. A child with a cognitive disorder or a learning disability, such as dyslexia, would need strategies for overcoming his limitations and tools to make his educational pathway a bit easier as he navigates through his own process of learning.
Providing support and assistance
With today’s innovative educational and technology tools, it is becoming easier to identify barriers to learning and remove them to enhance a child’s education. With each type of barrier, there are unique ways of addressing concerns and then minimizing the challenges that exist for a student.
My Multiplication Magic is one such tool; a revolutionary system designed to assist students with learning challenges associated with memory retention and learning by rote. With My Multiplication Magic, learning becomes fun as students quickly learn math facts basics and real-life application of mathematical concepts in a whole new way. If your child is struggling with their school experience, and you suspect it may have something to do with barriers to learning, contact us today to recreate a better learning experience for you and your child.
Briethaupt, Teresa, and Susan Ferencz. “Student Mental Health Resources.” Eliminating Barriers To Learning, 2017, www.ocde.us/HealthyMinds/Documents/OCDE%20Elim%20Slides%20%5BNovember%202013%5D%20lv.pdf.
“Personal Effectiveness.” Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, 2018, www.accipio.com/eleadership/mod/wiki/view.php?id=1683.
“What Are Learning Barriers.” Answers, Answers Corporation, 2018, www.answers.com/Q/What_are_learning_barriers.
“What Are the Most Common Barriers to Learning in School?” Success at School, 2018, successatschool.org/blog/507/What-are-the-Most-Common-Barriers-to-Learning-in-School.