Teaching Students How to Ask for Help
July 18, 2019
By: Jennifer Sullivan
Why do students struggle to ask teachers for extra help? Why do they sit in silence or confusion when raising their hand could bring help? Failure to ask for help can affect students’ academic performance, self-esteem, and potentially their access to learning in the future. There are several reasons why students struggle to ask for help, but the good news is that there are many strategies that can help them become stronger self-advocates for their learning.
Students must first recognize that they’re struggling. This requires honesty and self-awareness—some students don’t think they need help even when formal or informal assessments indicate otherwise.
Once students acknowledge that they’re struggling, they may feel shame or embarrassment. Many students have told me, “I want to be independent and try it on my own. I don’t need help.” They fear that asking for help signals weakness or failure in their character, though adults could tell them that asking for help is instead a sign of maturity and strength.