Are students who are pulled out of class for either remedial or advanced work negatively influenced either in their self esteem or in their social circles? How does a parent evaluate which is more important, being pulled out for academics or the social and self esteem issues?

  • Can you clarify what you mean by "pulling kids out of class"? Do you mean having them drop the class altogether, or someone physically coming into the room and saying "come with me"?
    – user420
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 20:06
  • @During the school day have a specialict take them out of class for special work. Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 20:17
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    I think it depends on the school, the child, and the issues. I think there's just too much variability there to come to any general suggestions.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 4:24

8 Answers 8


I think that it is greatly dependent on the culture of the school and they way it is done. The elementary school I work at both pulls students out for extra help and has additional teachers "push in" to the classroom to provide additional support. As a staff, we make every effort to include all students in the initial instruction and provide the additional support while students are having independent work time. We spend a great deal of our professional development time discussing the effects of this. We are constantly reflecting and changing to best meet the students and it does not seem to have any negative social impact and the educational benefits are obvious.

Additionally, as a student, I was pulled out for advanced math and reading. It was the greatest educational opportunity for me because I was engaged in learning rather than bored.

With all of that being said, I think that if it is done poorly and those children being pulled out are made to feel like they are in any way "less" than the other students it may not be beneficial to the student being pulled out. As with everything, it can either be done well or done poorly and they only way to know that is to have open, honest discussions with the teachers. I suggest asking questions about when and how they go about pulling students out.


One of my children is dealing with this same topic now. My child has told me that not only they & a few of my child's classmates feel like they are less than other kids, that the other kids in school look at my child like they are stupid. It has damage my child emotionally & mentally.

Do I think kids should be pulled? Only if they're gifted & more advanced. If a child is falling behind, then have aides in the classrooms to help all students. Some people learn at their own pace, these schools are marking these kids & doing damage to them emotionally & that messes with their mind. So no pulling kids or sending kids to a classroom with just 1 to maybe 7 kids in it, it's not helping.

My child tells me that they want to cry sometimes cause it's affected my child so much in a bad way. The schools needs to come up with better ways to equip kids to help them instead of hurting them emotionally by singling them out. For some people emotional damages affects them mentally. How can kids have the confidence to feel like they can do & be anything they want if the schools are pegging them as stupid & hurting their self esteem?


Being excluded from normal classes to get remedial work is definitely not good for your self-esteem. This happened to me for several reasons during school, and it brands you as stupid both with others and yourself.

I thought I was bad at maths, because I was sent to remedial work for mathematics in 5th grade. I realized later this was because I refused to learn the multiplication tables by heart as I didn't see the point. (How absurd this was dawned on me in high school, when I realized I had taught myself all elementary school maths and some high-school maths when I was 7 or 8 years old, by reading a book about maths I borrowed from the library).

I was also sent to remedial work in Swedish, because my handwriting was ugly. Unsurprisingly, it still is. :-)

In short: Schools should simply stop this practice, it's not helping anyone. I didn't see any of the guys in remedial maths class actually get any better (although I did finally learn that 7*8 was...uhm... 56? OK. turns out I still need to check with a calculator to be sure). This was because most of them simply didn't want to learn maths.

Being pulled out for advanced work is something that is wholly alien to the Scandinavian mindset so this never happened to me. That may not carry the same problems, I don't know. It would probably have made me less bored in school, which would have been good.

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    If sound as if you didn't actually need to be pulled out. what if the child has learning issues and needs to be pulled out to gain academically? Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 13:43
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    @morahhochman: Nobody needs to be pulled out, and as I mentioned, nobody got helped. The kids in the special maths class still sucked at maths, and my handwriting (which definitely needed help) still looks horrible, 35 years later. If a kid needs extra help, then he/she should be given exactly that: extra help. The special classes should not mean you get pulled from ordinary classes. Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 19:11
  • Maybe in 35 years, the system got better...
    – MakorDal
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 9:39

I believe that it depends on the situation and how the school handles it. At my elementary school, kids were pulled in and out of class all day. Some kids were taken to do advanced work and some kids were taken to do remedial work. No one knew where the others were going unless they were going as well. Usually, the older students (I'd say, second grade and up) knew that at, say, 10:00 they just needed to leave class to visit Mr. Cruze (our special ed. teacher) for math or reading or whatever and they would simply leave class quietly and go see Mr. Cruze who was expecting them. Keep in mind, I attended a very small elementary school and there were probably no more than one or two kids in each class who ever needed to leave at any given time.

If a child has numerical dyslexia, for example, and has not only fallen behind his/her classmates in math because of it but also needs extra therapy to learn to deal with his/her learning disability, then I think it's absolutely appropriate for the child to be pulled out of class to get caught up in the subject and be given the extra support he/she needs. However, it shouldn't be necessary for there to be a big to-do about it. I don't know that anyone ever really noticed who was in class and out of class at any given time when I was in school. For all we knew, people were leaving to go to the bathroom.

I guess the question you have to ask yourself is: If my child doesn't receive good help NOW to get caught up, what will the impact be on his/her self-esteem later on? I've had many students whose self-esteem was MORE damaged by the fact that he/she didn't receive remediation early enough. Ultimately, they fell farther and farther behind until they truly did have a learning disability because they couldn't read above a third grade level and they were freshmen in high school. Is this a situation where a good tutor could be just as or more effective than the school's remediation program?

I think, whether you choose to use the school's remediation plan or get your own tutor, it is of the utmost importance that YOU be supportive of your child (I'm sure you realize that, but I just wanted to throw that out there). Kids are always going to need extra help in some area--for me, it was first grade math. The key is for parents to catch it early and nip it in the bud before it grows out of control and for their kids to realize that no, their parents don't think they're stupid they just want to make sure that they stay on track. The most successful students I ever had were not the ones who sailed through school unimpeded, but the ones who had a few set-backs, worked through them with the love and support of their parents, and knew how to handle a little adversity.


I know my answer is a bit late, but I'm just about to do a small research project on how children feel about being taken out of class for additional support and came across this site.

In my experience, most children I've come across in Primary schools actually enjoy being taken out of class nowadays. There's much less of a labelling than there used to be. The activities or "work" done is usually specifically targetted within the child's ability so that s/he isnever put under pressure; the work is "fun" and the 1:1 attention with a lovely teacher or Speech and Language therapist, for example, is really looked forward to. However, there are still some children for whom it is seen as failing to make the grade. I'm not expecting my research to be conclusive but I'm interested in this area and will enjoy finding out how the children feel.


I think pulling out until a certain age for remedial work its less damaging for sure than others age group.

Normally when school act the internal damage has been made, and by removing them from class will only emphasize what they think about themselves is right "they are the dumbest of the all class", "they don't know" and "they will never understand".

I just think that inside classroom support its less damaging, as long as, this extra assistant teacher kind of blends in and ends up helping all classroom alongside the teacher focusing more in those that have the special education needs.

I strongly defend that the best approach is not pulling them out, instead keeping them throughout math's and literacy class from 5 grade onwards and giving them the one to one support after school time so they don't fall behind the rest of the class, and they can still consolidate what needs consolidation or whatever needs to be worked out by repetition and different ways of learning methods. Without excluding the therapies and new technology methods proven to help dyslexia and dyscalculia. Children should be always included not excluded, specially when they are already and feel different from the other school mates.


Most kids do not want to be pulled out and looked down upon by their peers and this starts a young age. Keep kids in the classroom and provide extra support with discretion. Send home extra work to support as well.

  • Hi and welcome to Parenting.SE! Please take the tour and read the help center. Can you further explain and back up your first sentence? Can you also add an answer to the question about how parents evaluate which is more important? Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 5:43

In addition to the fact that it does depend on the environment of the school, and also how the childs parents react, and peers outside of school, it can affect a child in different ways.

I'll tell you from first hand experience. It happened to me for Maths and is one of my more vivid memories.

At first I didn't want to, some of my friends weren't going to the same class I was, and I wanted to stay sitting next to them. It felt like getting drafted for war, I was comforted by the fact that "don't worry i'll see you at break!". Getting home though, my family were happy with me, I got to choose dinner (spaghetti) and got a new scooter.

Back at school I realised I didn't really talk to the others in the maths class much before. During the classes though, we laughed at the same things and it actually helped link myself and my friends at the time with the others who were in the class, and their friends outside of the class.

Outside of social changes, the different classes made me realise one thing. The teacher they brought in to teach the class was strict, but fair. I hated him. He made me realise, as a child, doing well get's you what you need to, doing poorly results in being replaced. That was the first time I truly felt pressure. Looking back it was definitely worth it, as it helped me mentally strengthen myself and become more resilient.

TLDR: Social benefits as you expose your child to more people, different kinds. Growth benefit, your child learns how hard/easy life can be, and they gotta do well to succeed.

  • Why did I get a vote down for this? Commented May 20, 2016 at 14:35

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