There could be many reasons why students are uninterested in studies, often stupid is not the reason. May be they just need more time to be ready for studying. In such case, they must be sufficiently prepared for such time.

To help an uninterested youth in study, the best way is to make learning interesting. However, if you have tried various means and method and still can’t get him interested, I have here, no expert advice, but offering a case for reference.

Background
A teenager who wanted to quit school because school was boring and meaningless. His results in Form 2: many subjects below 70 marks, good in English. Tuition was of no help.

My strategy
Set my goal at the minimum requirement for further studies; able to read textbook/reference book, reasonably good in Mathematics and English. To achieve that,
• Train his patience in reading a textbook
• Ensure he excels in at least one Math subject

Personal development
• Student who is not excellent in studies need to have something else to feel good about himself. Provide the support he needs to do well in one skill.
• Find him the opportunities to participate in team work and organizing skill

The implementation

Train his patience in reading
• Seek his understanding and acceptance why he needs reading.
• Let him know you won’t ask for much, just one subject would do. Get him to ‘bear’ with you just for that one subject. ( you have to bear with him just for that one subject)
• Pick a ‘reading’ subject to start with, the one he dislikes, and sit with him through the reading and identify key points.
• Help him to remember those key points by asking him the same question over and over again in different ways (it is a way to test if he is listening).
• Be persistent; review the points before end of a lesson and beginning of a new lesson.
• frequency of lesson: daily

Math
• Avoid telling him things that he already know, he might have too much ego and too little patience for things he knew.
• spend time to go through his exercises, check for what he doesn’t know and explain accordingly.
• Ensure the working is systematic and neat
• To be able to answer tricky or indirect questions, for each topic, there might be a few key point a student must know, check that he is aware of such key points.

Challenges
• this is an uninterested student, he might not think when he is reading, he might not remember what he reads, he might be playing with his phone and texting in between reading.
• He might not be punctual.
• Secondary school is quite a long journey, it will not be smooth sailing all the way, there will be tug of war but don’t pull the rope too hard, he might fall or the rope might break.

Important

- you must be with him, don't just give instruction and walk away," you read… I will come back to you" ; often not effective.
- whatever you do, it must be something you are confident that the student is sufficiently learnt to do well in his first test after all the effort put in.
- you want him to give you the chance to help him, so watch your response so that he would not give up during the process , remain calm and focus on your objectives.
- modify your plan along the way, such as additional subjects, get him to invite his friends for group study, offer guidance for free.

Case outcome:

In this case, after two months, the student obtained the highest mark in his class for Sejarah test. He was the center of attention on that day he got his test result. Needless to say, he wants to remain good. The reading experience remains useful till his tertiary studies. More than half of his SPM subjects are A.

I happened to get in touch with several students who did poorly in SPM recently, I wish more parents could do more for these students during those years the students were struggling to cope with studies or discipline themselves. By sharing my experience, hopefully, encourage parents not to give up trying.