If you have school-age children, you’ve likely heard of ‘learning gaps’ before. If your child is not keeping up with their peers and their teacher has suggested there may be some gaps in their learning, here’s an informative guide explaining what that means exactly and how you can help them to get back on track.

What is a learning gap?

Put simply, the term learning gaps is used to describe a child’s performance at school and what the academic expectations are for their given year and age level compared to what they have learned and know up until this point. Its often used to describe shortcomings in their learning aka gaps of where they are and where they should be.

Are learning gaps anything to worry about?

Often when there is a slight learning gap, and there is no intervention, it can progress as time goes on, and what once started as a small gap can become a significant one, resulting in the child falling further behind. This commonly has a flow-on effect and can impact other aspects, including their confidence and willingness to participate in-class activities.

How do learning gaps occur?

Learning gaps can happen for a plethora of reasons. Here are some common ones:

  1. The subject wasn’t covered in depth.
  2. Lack of attendance.
  3. The child wasn’t focusing at the time and the information wasn’t retained.
  4. External factors such as trouble at home, family circumstances, illness.
  5. The child is too shy or embarrassed to ask for help when needed.
  6. The teacher didn’t explain the information in a language that could be understood.
  7. Learning difficulties.
  8. Behavioural issues.
  9. Stress or mental health concerns.

Again, these are only some of the reasons why a learning gap can occur. If your child is dealing with a learning gap, it’s a good idea to collaborate with their teacher. They can give you an invaluable insight into what they are seeing at their end, and together, you can formulate a plan. Teachers have a lot of work to get through each year, and often it builds on upon lessons that they’ve already learnt. When a child fails to get a grasp of the work they’ve previously been taught, gaps can occur.

How common are learning gaps?

Learning gaps are quite common amongst school-age children and even more the last year or so with a lot of students at home and working remotely. Initially, kids had to get their heads around new online programs that were, for a lot of students, vastly different to the way they learned previously. Many children were encouraged to work independently through their tasks, reaching out to their parents and teachers if they needed help. With school, sporting and social routines thrown out the window, learning gaps have become more evident than they once were.

How to help close learning gaps

When learning gaps occur in your child’s education, you can help by doing these 3 simple things:

  1. Identify how they occurred
  2. Recognise where the gaps are in their curriculum
  3. Speak with their teacher and enlist assistance from a tutor

Your child’s teacher will be one of the first people to recognise any gaps in your child’s learning. They will be able to tell you why they think they occurred and what areas they are struggling with. As the caregiver, you can revisit these areas with your child and work on them until they have got a grasp on the content they were falling behind on, or you can hire a tutor. They can customise a plan that is tailored to your child’s needs and learning style to effectively close the gaps.

What to look for in a tutor

Good people skills

The tutor you choose for your child has to have good people skills. It’s not uncommon for children to feel uneasy with people they don’t know. When the tutor is good with children of your age and are enthusiastic about learning, they can build rapport quickly, and your child is likely to make good progress sooner rather than later. When the tutor makes the sessions fun, your child will be engaged and, tutoring won’t be a boring chore that they loathe.

Experience teaching children within your child’s age group

The content that primary school age teachers teach compared to secondary teachers differs greatly, so to ensure your child is getting the most out of their sessions is a good idea to source a teacher that has the experience necessary to tutor your child. This is especially true if your child is taking specialised classes that require a certain level of knowledge on the subject.

Includes practical components as well as theoretical

Naturally, children are inquisitive and curious about their surroundings, and while some children learn well reading from a textbox, a lot don’t. Make sure that the tutor you choose is proactive about incorporating practical learning into their sessions. This allows children to get another perspective and engage their critical thinking skills.

Once the learning gaps have been addressed and begin to close, it can have a significant influence on your child’s academic performance, and the overall enjoyment they get out of their schooling. If you are looking for a holistic private tutor for your child on the Gold Coast, contact our friendly team here at Stress Less Tutoring. We incorporate psychology backed tutoring to transform lives.