Most often what inhibits children learning or mastering a concept is neither the difficulty of the concept nor the inability of the children to understand it. What inhibits children is the overwhelming presence of fear; fear of failing; fear of not understanding, general fear ( that which cannot be explained and where there seems to be logical basis for it), or fear of low expectations.
It is a very common practice for a child who consistently achieve below the expectation of so called normal students to be viewed as unable to ever achieve more highly than past experiences have shown. Because of this, such children are usually given work that does not challenge their efforts. Such work may be ignored or may be sloppily done as the child disengages or muddles around in the sheer disgust of the experience.
When a child is consistently give work below his chronological age or that his or her peer are doing, the child automatically turns off. Even if, there is a vague possibility that work is achievable, the very notion that it is below a level of challenge for the age has a detrimental effect.
As often as possible, it is advisable to allow children, particularly those who appear to struggle with grade level work to be challenged. Low expectations are kill hope and the will to try; even to make the slightest attempt to test one’s ability.
Enough evidence exists to change our low expectation paradigms, and allow children to challenge themselves even if we think it unreasonable. Sometime we can be surprised by what the brain can create at a time that we least expect.
We can all learn, given the right circumstances, encouragement, and above all love.
Inspire children to learn, everyday. Put children at ease and see them excel.
A must read book for any teachers who wants to help children succeed is the book by: John Mighton, The End of Ignorance — Multiplying Our Human Potential. John also wrote: The Myth of Ability.