Why Some Students fail to progress in English!

Have you ever witnessed a situation where teaching English as a second language becomes so difficult that you find some of your students unable to make significant progress after a considerable long period of time? Well, stay with me while I explain my own personal observation with some of my students. The other day, during one of my teaching sessions, I asked some of my students to differential between number fourteen and forty and to my surprise most of them couldn’t. But that was only a tip of the bag as when I further asked them to spell their names in English that also proven to be a Herculean task. This made  me worried as I have just been transferred to a new school. Immediately, I started an investigation by discussing  this issue with some teachers and the following was the result my findings:

Inadequacy of the Course Book

Foundation in any thing is the most important. However, a careful look at the course book reveals that the foundation course  which should enable the students to master the reading and writing skills is absolutely inadequate. The exercises and activities are not well designed and organized to give students the opportunity to grasp the basic of the language. In consequence they continue to face basic problems in reading and writing.

– Students’ attitude towards the language

Most of our students think that it is not necessary to learn a foreign language and as such they are not motivated to devote their effort to learn. This negative attitude is causing frustration to the teachers and impacting their enthusiasm. A teacher who knows that he or she will have to face a group of disinterested students will lack the zeal to do the optimal and students will be the losers in the final analysis.

– Size of the Classroom

Added to the above mentioned problems, teachers usually have to deal with a large class. The number of students far exceeds what is reasonable so this make it very difficult to handle and these uninterested students are taking advantages of the  situation to practice their nonchalant attitudes.

– Lack of cooperation from Paren

The role of parents towards the education of their children can not be over emphasized. But pathetically, most of them are not doing enough to monitor their children’s learning progress.This is dealing an adverse blow on the learning process of their children.

– Solution

For every problem there must be a solution, if we honestly search for one. Contemplation on the above problems leads us to the following solutions:

– Redesigning of the Course Book

I think if the present course book is resign to include worksheet, flash cards, other activities, exercises and necessary learning aids to assist the students to master the basic skills of reading and writing then they may not encounter difficulties in the
understanding of further advanced lessons.

–  The Role of the Teacher

In relation to students’ negative attitude towards the target language, the teacher should endeavor to create a classroom situation wherein students will feel motivated and encouraged to learn the language. The teacher should use inspirational speeches to emphasize the need of learning English in this technological age.

– The Role of Parents

In order for teachers to be successful, their effort must be supported by parents and guardians. This cooperation will create a sense of discipline and responsibility on the part of the students and consequently enhanced the learning process.


– Reduction of Classroom size

The number of students in the class should be reasonable to enable the teacher to easily handle them. A class which is relatively small gives the teacher the opportunity to teach well and therefore monitor the progress of the students. So if there is any problem in the learning process it could be solved at the initial stage.


10 comments on “Why Some Students fail to progress in English!

  1. Hello sir,
    please accept my respect ..and I have some notes to share with you in this blog ..
    First, let me start about the point that contains the number of student in the classroom ..here is the question..How many student can we bear ? what are the effects of the number in our works?
    second, How can perents support the teacher’s work? can you explain more this point ??
    finally, I find that you have done a great thing here..it’s marvel ..I hope to find much more things soon and I’ll try to do my best with you here
    my best regards

    • Thanks a lot .I will try to answer questions in my next articles .subscribe to my blog to see my answers inshaAllah

  2. Dear Saeed,

    Your article describing your present teaching situation has led me to think that there are issues that exceed frontiers.
    It’s sometimes hard to find a coursebook to suit students’ needs and for that reason as teachers, we should do our best to find the most appropriate book and adapt it to the class we teach. We should have a critical view and select tasks and add others to help our students learn the English language in a motivating way. Nowadays, there are lots of websites that offer material to support the coursebook.
    You haven’t mentioned your students’ age but if they’re teenagers, then motivating them is not an easy task. For that reason, students should participate in the choice of material they find appealing and the role of the teacher should be that of facilitator.
    When classes are too big, teachers should make students work in small groups or in pairs to ensure the participation of all of them. In that case, teachers should go around groups/pairs taking down notes of students’ performance to offer remedial work when necessary.
    As to parents, most of them seem to be really busy to find the time to monitor their children and expect too much from teachers. There should be ways of involving parents. What about designing blogs to share with parents and make them participate in their children’s learning process?
    I hope my tips are inspirational. Good luck!

  3. Hello Saeed,
    As you can see on my profile, I write course books for students and would be interested in your comments on how English Language books could be improved. You can contact me by email if you wish.

    Warm regards,


  4. Hello Saeed, Thank you for your short article. I think the points you make are valuable. These can all make learning a 2nd language more difficult.
    One aspect I have noticed in students that can make or break their learning is motivation. Some just have a love of learning and these are the ones who can succeed even in difficult situations. Many are borderline motivated and as teachers we can inspire them to be more motivated and to do this is to make the lesson interesting, relevant and enjoyable. Another group could care less about learning a 2nd language and, of course, these students have much difficulty. However, I’m an optimist and perhaps in a good learning environment with fewer students, even they can be motivated to learn. Finally, there are the students with learning difficulties or psychological problems like ADHD, anxiety or mild depression and their difficulties need to be addressed before satisfactory learning can occur. I also think the multiple intelligence perspective has some good ideas about how individual students learn.
    I look forward to your next articles.

  5. I have really enjoyed the reading of the posted article. In addition, i think that it describes many of the English-lge related problems or issues that teachers from all over the world face. Also, i think that the use of the textbook is just inevitable. As teachers, we try always to present our lesson via aiming at satisfying the students’ different learning styles by varying our activities, for example.
    i do agree with u on the point that some students do not like the textbook that s why here in Morocco one of the suggested solution is the creation of Englsih clubs that schedules interesting activities like drama.

  6. I’ve also contemplated the same question as I teach English in Japan. A lot of my teacher friends also feel very challenged. The answers don’t come easy. I think the first step towards changing the situation is speaking to those around you in order to brainstorm of collaborative ways to positively change the situation. The tricky part is that you can only change elements within your own scope. Many things you just can’t change. I hope you come up with some creative solutions and determine solid, achievable goals for yourself and your students.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s