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Counselling Strategies for Academic Difficulties


We are aware that many students in school have difficulty in academic, social and personal adjustments. As they reach secondary stage of schooling they are burdened with making decisions regarding future course of their study and career. This places students under tremendous stress and anxiety. Some students manage every obstacle based on their personal ability or with support from family. But there are some students who look up to professional help. In the present scenario due to growing demands on academic accomplishment students with learning difficulties suffer from social stigma, feeling of inadequacy leading to frustration. Guidance and counseling offers alternate ways of understanding the problems and prepares the individual for facing the challenge. One of the important objectives of a schools is to facilitate students to perform their fullest in academic areas to move ahead in life with confidence. Given this agreement it seems logical that those who are engaged in a profession to facilitate learning should have a solid basic understanding of what, why and how of academic difficulties. We need to understand, feel and act into this complex world of learning to give hope to those having difficulty in learning.

Learning objectives:

After the completion of the transaction of this module, the participating teachers shall –

  • List the possible causes of academic difficulties among school students
  • Analyse the difficulties of students in learning
  • Identify suitable measures to help students overcome the obstacles in the path of learning

Open house activity     (30min.)

The RP will take a review on the awareness about different factors affecting learning as experienced by teachers/counsellors. (5 min.)

The participants may share their experiences with one or two such cases

Participants identify specific reasons that create barrier to learn in the classroom and participate in school activities.

Ask the participants to come out with their views on the difficulties of the student narrated by the RP. (25 min)

Group Activity     (30 Min.)

The RP will get the participants into 4 groups.

The RP will use four narrations depicting the students facing difficulties in learning for different reasons.

Each group would analyse one set of narrative and list

The difficulties of the Children in learning (10 min)

RP will ask every group to explain the possible provisions that could be made by them in the classroom. (20 min.)


  1. Identify the difficulties of the children encountered while in classroom based on the open discussions.
Four narratives  depicting on different issues that might lead to difficulties in academic areas

Brainstorming     (20 min.)

Participants will critically think and reflect on the point of discussion.

RP may add further. To consolidate the points, RP will show and discuss the power point enumerating multiple factors that effect a student’s learning in the classroom. The impact on development and ways of helping them will also be highlighted by eliciting crucial strategies form the participants.

Assignment (To continue the work)

At the end of the session RP will consolidate the ideas and give an assignment based on discussion point 4 to the respective groups to develop a relevant poster / slogan/ write-up/script for a skit for creating community awareness and present


    1. How does these instances create barriers in learning school subjects?
    2. In spite of these difficulties can we visualize them in an inclusive setting?
    3. What should be the role of teacher / counsellor?
  • Worksheet on reflection on innate problems and finding appropriate strategies.
  • PPT
  • Chart papers, markers, color pens, crayons and any other required raw materials


Transaction through Online Platform

  • Four narratives – 1. On learning disabilities; 2. On bullying; 3. Emotional problems; 4. Disabilities
  • Writing materials and writing boards
  • Presentations – Power points and videos


Transaction Strategies

  • For discussion point 1, four narratives are given below. In addition, the RPs can make use of their own experiences or experiences of the participants.  They may also use videos or news paper clippings as alternatives.
  • The experiences of the participants during previous earning on counselling strategies for academic learning, if they have, may be considered for transaction.
  • Consolidation of the concepts or key points may be presented though PPTs related to discussion point 2 and 3.
  • RP can make necessary changes in the mode of transaction as per the situation.


Reference material for further learning

  • Source material attached with this module
  • Handouts on writings on academic difficulties
  • Books and e-books on effective strategies to promote optimum learning in schools




 Group I (Learning Disabilities a Cause of Concern)

    • Anand is a happy boy aged 9. He is friendly, talkative and is appreciated by his friends for his leadership qualities. But his teacher is not all that appreciative towards him mainly because he does not pay attention to the subjects.  Anand is sad that he is not able to make his teacher happy however he tries.  He just can’t go ahead of his reading task in spite of his interest.  He soon finds excuses to avoid the task.

Reflect upon this:

      1. Do you think children like Anand feel alienated from the educational process?
      2. What are the difficulties of Anand in the context of education?


      • Nitin, a student of class 3 is very active, ready to help his friends and enjoys out door games. When it comes to learning math he is not all that relaxed and happy.  His math teacher is tired of complaining about him to his parents.
      • Ponder over:
      1. Why children fear math?
      2. Are children like Nitin prone to stop education at the secondary level?


      • Pooja a student of class 5, who is very good at drawing and painting, hesitates to socialize with her classmates. She fails to comprehend what her friends are discussing, if she misses little bit of it. She is unable tell her point of view in the class when the teacher asks.  Slowly she avoids being in a group.  Contemplate:
      • Why children like Pooja lose interest in mainstream schools?
      • What are the aspects of school that might interfere in her interest?


      • Ashwin is fond of solving math problems. But in other subjects, though he enjoys classroom participation, fails miserably when it comes to writing. His class work and test papers are nightmares for the teachers.  The effort of teachers and parents did not yield positive results. Think of the situation:
      • What could be troubling Ashwin?
      • Why is it important to attend to his problem?






Group II (Bullying needs attention)

      • New Paper Article:




TNN | Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2020 10:12


Bullying is the most common form of school violence which requires urgent attention. It not only violates a child’s right to education but also impacts their health and well-being and academics negatively. According to the UNESCO report, “Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying”, one in every three students has been bullied by their peers in school at least once in the last month, and a similar proportion are affected by physical violence.

Violence and bullying, including cyberbullying leave a mark on a student’s life and has a drastic effect on the child’s mindset, often resulting in anxiety, depression, uncontrollable anger, shame and low self-esteem. Due to social stigma, often learners hide instances of bullying from their teachers and parents. Appropriate intervention or a failure to provide timely support to students can lead to lack of concentration, falling grades, disruptive behaviours, absenteeism or dropping out-of-school completely.

Post COVID-19 lockdown education departments made efforts to ensure continuity of learning through various digital platforms, which has amplified the risk of cyberbullying. To address this, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and UNESCO New Delhi published an information booklet titled “Safe online learning in the times of COVID-19” in various Indian languages, to raise awareness on staying safe online.

The education sector, including teachers, plays an important role to promote mutual respect, dignity and consent among students. They make an essential contribution to the emotional and cognitive development of children. There is an emerging need to take concrete steps in ensuring that children are provided safe learning environments, which enables them to share experiences and seek help when needed.

When the United Nations adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, it committed to strive for a world guided by human rights, a world that is just, equitable and inclusive, and a world that is free from fear and violence. To ensure safe and inclusive learning environments, UNESCO advocates for a comprehensive school health approach that encompasses policy and systems, skills-based health education, safe learning environments and linked to health services. The education sector must implement measures for preventing violence and bullying.

Safety and security of students is a priority for the Government of India. Recently, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the School Health Programme under the aegis of Ayushman Bharat. The School Health curriculum developed by NCERT in collaboration with partners includes a dedicated module on “Safety and Security Against Violence and Injuries” which aims to enhance knowledge and skills of learners to keep oneself safe from violence and injuries. The Ministry of Education has sent detailed guidelines to State School Education Departments for setting up Institutional mechanisms for making schools free from bullying.

Preventing and eliminating violence and bullying in schools require a variety of actions engaging all stakeholders. We urge government departments, schools, parents, social workers, counsellors, doctors, community leaders and institutions to work hand-in-hand with students and administrators to ensure a secure and vibrant learning environment in schools.

Ponder over: What kind of stress does a child facing bullying suffer?

(The authors are Hrushikesh Senapaty, former director, NCERT and Eric Falt, director, UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office)


      • Face Book Blog:


Face book post by a professional


Reflecting back on my school life brought back a lot of memories. The pleasant and bitter experiences I have gone through. I never knew how hardships and pain I had gone through was a process of preparing me to be tough and resilient to life challenges. I remember how I dreamt and wish to attend Don Bosco (the best school of the town) which was just next to the school I attended. I used to peep from the window across the wall and imagined myself being there with a tears filling my eyes (the reason I couldn’t go to that school was we couldn’t afford it). All through the school phase, I go wearing mended uniform and shoe (my father has a good hand in all these). I used to borrow books/class notes from friends and copy the entire chapters manually to learn (no money to purchase). This process help me get all familiar with topic and concepts. When I look at many youngster today, I am amazed at how all set of uniforms and shoes are taken for granted. Another unforgettable experience I had was being bullied by physically stronger and taller classmates. Right from class VIII to X I was bullied so much I almost give up on my schooling and the only thread that kept me hanging there was my love for learning. When I reflect back I realized that bully happen due to three reasons- 1) physically weaker or smaller, 2) being more intelligent and 3) financial weak background. By the grace of God I fit into those three (I said this coz I’m grateful being brought up from a humble background which enable me empathize with person facing the same experience). Let me say it bluntly that ‘bullying is not cool’ having faced the same psychological impact. But at the same time I used to look and search for friends who bullied me to say ‘hello how’s life’ and I’m sure they remember me (couldn’t connect to them till now though I tried many times). I don’t have a bitter feeling today and wanted to thank people for giving me life experiences. Today I’m nobody but still God placed me at a responsible position to pass on the message of love and peace. It was God who lead me all through such experiences.


Find out:

      1. Figure out the trauma the victim while being bullied
      2. Why do you think the one who is bullied does not complain?

Group III (Emotional Problems are a challenge to be tackled)


      • Instance 1 – Anusha was a happy and enthusiastic child till she was in her elementary school.  In a tragic incident she lost her mother and it is a year since then, she is very upset and cries while talking about it.  She remains alone during outdoor activities of the school not showing any interest to take part in sports and cultural programmes of the school.  Anusha does neither volunteer to initiate any academic activities in the class nor answers to the questions that is raised by the teacher or peer group.

Empathize – Why do you think Anusha is behaving in this way?

      • Instance 2 – Kartik came to the present school in the middle of the academic year as his parents moved due to their transfer.  He is unable to relate to the academic activities that is going on in the class.  He tries to talk to some of his peers but they seem to be avoiding him and remain in their own groups.  As days are passing he is losing interest in attending class.  He pretends to be ill and looks for reasons to avoid going to school.

Reflect – Why students in the school are not accepting Kartik in their group?

      • Instance 3 – Meghana and Ganesh are in class 6 and couple of days back the school authorities asked to them to bring their parents for being close to each other, talking and sharing chits in class.

Think about – The situation of Meghana and Ganesh when the school authorities called for their parents


Group IV (Disabilities cause disturbance)


      1. CASE STUDY:

Speech and hearing impaired student excels in SSLC exam

Karwar, May 16, 2015, DHNS: Boy learnt lessons by reading lip movements of his teachers


B S Shivayogi, a student of KHEP High School of KPCL at Kadra in the district, has scored a staggering 606 out of 625 marks in SSLC exam this year. What’s so special about the achievement is that the boy is speech and hearing impaired.

Son of KPCL employee Nagaraj Shetty and Nagaratna, Shivayogi has registered a near perfect score (one short of 100) in Kannada, Hindi and Maths. He managed to score 95 and 93 in Science and Social Science subjects respectively while posting a healthy 121 marks in English.

A speech and hearing impaired since birth, Shivayogi showed that disability is no impediment to scale heights. The specially-abled boy used to learn his lessons by reading lip movements of his teachers in the classrooms. Shivayogi’s mother Nagaratna, who has PG degree in Commerce, used to give special training to her son at home.

Special care by teachers and unconditional support by his parents helped Shivayogi post 90-plus scores in SSLC exam.

“A doctor in Dharwad confirmed his speech and hearing impairment. Following his
advise, we got him treated at All India Institute for Speech and Hearing and admitted him to Rotary West Institute for Mother and Deaf Child for a three-year training course. The special training provided by the teachers there, Ratna Shetty in particular, helped him reading lip movements and overcome problem in learning,” Nagaratna, mother of Shivayogi told Deccan Herald.

“After a two-year training stint at Mysuru, we got him admitted to Kadra KPCL School. Initially, he faced difficulty in comprehending English language in the school but Shivayogi started coping with the problem after I started taking lessons at home a day before teachers did them in classroom. Shivayogi started topping the class from 3rd standard and continued doing so till SSLC,” a beaming Nagaratna added.

“I am proud of my son’s achievement. His feat would serve as an example for his ilk. He has decided to opt PCMB subjects in PUC and wants to become an engineer,” she signs off.

Examine – What challenges do children with disabilities face in schools?



Airtel Delhi half marathon: Weak in the body, but not spirit

TNN | Nov 29, 2015, 11.57 PM IST


More than 40,000 people came for the event.

NEW DELHI: Twelve-year-old Aasha is here all the way from Dehradun, and even though she can barely see, she is as excited as anyone else at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. She is among a group of participants suffering from partial blindness, hearing and speech impairment and running under the ‘Champions with Disability’ category.

Supported by the Sense International India and National Association for the Blind, a group of 15 such especially abled children took part in the run, along with their family members and friends.

Sharing her second experience at the marathon, Aasha says she thinks she performed better this year.

“We all should run for some cause. It is very good to see so many people around.”

Apart from this group, people with special needs dropped in from across the country. There were 400 participants to be precise — 311 male and 89 female -under the disability category.

Among them, many like 30-year-old Ganesh — who is wheelchair-bound and runs an NGO in Madhya Pradesh, Bundelkhand Disabled Social Welfare Society — took part in the run for the first time.

Ganesh says, “I loved the experience. Even though we completed the run, 4km was quite long. However, our enthusiasm and excitement didn’t wane,” he said.

The run started at 7:35 am and was flagged off from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and finished at the Gate No.2 of the stadium. Another visually and hearing impaired participant, Zameer (40), came to the event with his three-year-old daughter. Zameer runs an NGO, ‘Sense India’, and says he wants to be an inspiration for others.


Think – Why is it such a big deal for Aasha and Zameer to be a part of Delhi Marathon?